TREMONT — There seems to be a bit of confusion in Tremont recently regarding refunds and credits given to the town to compensate for a delay of a new fire engine.
The town of Tremont recently received a $7,500 refund from the company that failed to get a new fire truck to the town in the promised timeframe. Tremont had ordered a fire engine back in 2019, which, after much delay, finally arrived this past April. The Select Board said that since the money received in the refund was originally paid by the town for the new fire truck, any refund money must be used to pay off the outstanding debt on the new truck.
At the Select Board meeting on June 21, board members seemed to be under the impression that the fire department had received an additional refund check for $7,500, and that those funds had been mismanaged. According to the fire department, this is not the case. There were no members of the department present at the meeting.
Tremont Fire Chief Keith Higgins said after the meeting that he believes that the board may have misunderstood the situation, adding that the department was also given the equivalent of $7,500 worth of service credits from the manufacturer because of the slow service
“We wanted to cancel the contract and be refunded,” said Chief Higgins, “[The company] offered some concessions.”
These benefits were welcomed by the department and were used to service existing vehicles in the fleet.
“We service [the fire trucks] annually,” said Chief Higgins.
This seems to be where the confusion lies. The Select Board was under the impression that this servicing credit was given to the fire department in the form of another check.
“They seem to think we received additional funds that we needed to reimburse, but that’s not the case,” said Chief Higgins.
At the meeting on June 21, the board moved to authorize the town manager to contact the fire department regarding the situation.
Chief Higgins plans on attending the next Select Board meeting to discuss this matter further with the town manager and board members, hoping to clear the air and explain the situation.
The new truck, engine number five, is dedicated to Brad Reed, who served as fire chief for Tremont for over two decades before Chief Higgins took over.