Prospect approves fire truck purchase at Town Hall meeting

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield speaks at a town meeting alongside, left, meeting moderator Robert Hiscox and Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapkias at Town Hall on Tuesday. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

PROSPECT — Prospect residents on Tuesday approved a resolution to purchase a fire truck from The Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect, Inc. after the department acquired the newer apparatus.

Town officials held a town meeting where a little more than a dozen members of the public voted in favor at Town Hall for the town to purchase the apparatus for no more than $739,983 and together with an appropriation from the general fund and bonding of up to $672,723.

“The fire department had already purchased it under the incorporated and this meeting today was to reimburse the department and take over the vehicle ownership,” Fire Lt. Mike Palmerie III said after the town meeting.

About half of the vehicles in the firehouse are owned by the department and the other half are owned by The Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect, Inc., according to Mayor Robert Chatfield.

“The fire department bought this truck and they got a real good deal. It was a used vehicle with only 6,000 miles on it and they bought this truck,” Chatfield said during the meeting.

“They came to the council three, four times and we had the town meeting and did not have a resolution at the town meeting but voted on the budget.”

The fire department was able to secure a loan of $769,710 separate from the town for the newer truck last year from Firematic Supply Company, a dealer and distributor of firefighting equipment.

Firefighters took possession of the newer squad truck in April and traded in the 2003 squad truck, according to Palmerie.

Robert Chatfield. Archive

“The town owned the old Squad 3 and they gave us a trade in of $84,000,” Chatfield said. “If I had tried to sell it on the open market, I’d be lucky if I got $50,000. So we traded it in.”

The fire department’s older Squad 3 truck has an engine and truck tools. It responded to fire suppression, ventilation, search and rescue, rapid intervention and specialty rescue and carried 1000 gallons of water.

The National Fire Protection Association and Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommend a new truck after a truck’s life expectancy of 20 years, Palmerie said.

All but one resident voted against the resolution.

James Borbas Jr. said numerous towns in this state, Prospect’s size and smaller, go 25 and 30 years on their vehicles.

“Why do we have a habit of buying trucks every 20 years,” Borbas asked during the meeting.

“This truck was in their scope of replacements five years ago when they put it out in front of us,” Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said.

Chatfield said the town’s fire department is strictly an OSHA department and the fire department gives a report to the Town Council on how often the trucks should be replaced.

“I believe that the town should be going at least 25 years on fire trucks and not 20 because to the credit of the fire department, they keep them in tremendous shape,” Borbas said shortly after the meeting.

The older squad 3 truck has had $42,000 worth of repairs since 2016, which doesn’t include regular maintenance.

Upgrades for the new apparatus include addition compartments in the cabin of the truck for medical supplies, installation of snow chains for traction, adding a 360 degree rotating light tower, adding intake valves on both sides of the truck and moving control switches to the passenger side for the officer in charge to control lights and sirens, according to Palmerie.

“This truck is replacing a truck that was costing the town and the department more money as years go on,” Palmerie said after the meeting. “This truck has the newest and latest safety features for our members.”