The Dolgeville Volunteer Fire Department has offered to match dollar-for-dollar any contribution made by the village of Dolgeville to a capital reserve fund for the purchase of fire department equipment and vehicles, up to a $5,000 contribution annually.
President Robert Griffin said with the age of the department’s engine, aerial truck and tanker, the volunteer firefighters will have to begin thinking about replacing the vehicles.
“The engine is a 1991, the ladder is a 1993 and the tanker is a 1996 — all of the department’s vehicles will be more than 20 years of age by the end of this decade. While we are able to get a few extra years out of our vehicles due to our rural setting, the National Fire Protection Association says the average useful life of fire vehicles is between 15 and 20 years,” said Griffin during Monday night’s meeting of the village board of trustees. “The cost to replace these vehicles is going to be great.”
Griffin estimated the cost to replace the department’s engine would be between $250,000 to $300,000, while he said the cost to replace the aerial truck would likely be more than $500,000. He estimated the cost to replace the department’s tanker to be between $160,000 and $180,000.
“And that is on top of the cost to replace our rescue truck, which is a 1986, and to replace our brush truck, which is a 1987,” said Griffin. “They, too, are going to have to be replaced.”
Griffin said by establishing a capital reserve fund, the department and the village could lessen the burden that would be placed on taxpayers when a new piece of equipment or vehicle is purchased.
Trustee Mary Puznowski agreed with Griffin. “We would be crazy not to accept the fire department’s offer,” she said. “It would double the village’s contribution and help residents come tax time.”
Trustee Donna Loucks said the board should consider the fire department’s offer when it comes time to formulate the 2013 - 2014 village budget. “It is definitely something worth considering when putting the budget together,” she said. “It’s a very generous offer on behalf of the department.”
Griffin said the department will apply for a $120,000 grant to purchase air packs and face pieces, and to upgrade the department’s cascade system, this year. He added should the Federal Emergency Management Agency award the grant, the $6,000 local share would be paid for by the department.
He also said the fire department is considering applying for a $400,000 grant to assist with the purchase of a new rescue vehicle, which would also be outfitted as a pumper.
“That way, if the engine goes down, we would have a backup that we could use,” said Griffin. “But that grant is at least two years away, as first we are applying for the grant to replace our air packs.”
Page 2 of 2 - The local share for the $400,000 grant would be $20,000, he added.
“Having that money in a capital reserve fund would certainly help the department and the village,” said Mayor Bruce Lyon, who is also the treasurer for the fire department.