SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Purchase of a new air compressor and updated air pack equipment for firefighters was approved by the Board of Selectmen here last week.
They approved a plan for the town manager to enter a lease-purchase agreement to buy the $146,000 worth of equipment with a $20,000 down payment from the town’s Capital Improvement Program funds, subject to legal authorization.
Initially, the town had planned for the purchase to be covered by a state grant, but the town missed the deadline in late January.
Town Manager Don Lagrange said there could be another grant that would reimburse the town for the cost retroactively if the town decided to purchase the equipment privately.
Several selectmen said they thought it was necessary to go ahead with the equipment replacement regardless of whether the state could compensate the town for the cost in the future.
“I personally think this is a necessary item to make happen this year,” said acting Chair Dan Norwood.
“The Fire Department needs it for safety, and we’ve certainly delayed it long enough.”
Fire Chief Jack Martel, who also was at the meeting, said the current equipment, which was purchased in the early ‘90s, has reached the end of its life cycle.
The purchase includes a $40,000 air compressor and updated air pack equipment valued at $106,000 to be supplied by the Fire Tech and Safety of New England Company.
The town will pay for it in five-year installments of $28,618 through a purchase-lease arrangement with Merrimac Capital Services, an independent finance company.
The CIP account that will be used to cover the $20,000 deposit has a current balance of $26,000, according to Lagrange.
Since the expense was unexpected, selectmen are set to adjust the 2018-2019 budget to reflect the first installment at their next meeting, on Feb. 27.