TREMONT — One of the first orders of business for new Town Manager Christopher Saunders will be to investigate alternative financing options for a new fire engine.
Tremont’s fire chief, Keith Higgins, presented the department’s 2018-2019 budget request at last Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting. In addition to the operations request, he proposed the replacement of one of the trucks, which he said is severely rusting out.
Restoring the 1996 engine could cost as much as $135,000. Instead, Higgins suggested the town consider purchasing a new four-wheel pickup with a 2,000-gallon tank, which would cost around $300,000. Once the order is made, delivery could take up to 18 months.
The selectmen were in favor of the idea but hesitant about the financial implications of the purchase. Dana Reed, retiring town manager, said the town has two remaining payments on existing trucks. When the payments are done in about two years, that will release $100,000 a year into the town’s budget.
Reed also reminded the board that approving the purchase would require a separate warrant because the money will be borrowed.
The fire department’s budget amounts to $52 per household, according to Chief Higgins. This year’s request was almost 3 percent higher than last year’s, mostly due to training costs. The town’s department wanted to offer its members training opportunities despite the delays in plans for an islandwide training center.