By Kathryn G. Menu
The Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department has proposed the largest increases within the draft 2011-2012 village budget, asking for $132,231 in additional funding this year, primarily to allow the department to purchase a new chief’s vehicle for $60,000 and to save for the replacement of two new engines in the next three years.
The fire department’s overall proposed budget is for $490,615, a 37-percent increase in spending over last year’s approved budget. In addition to the proposed $60,000 for a chief’s vehicle, the department has also proposed increasing the amount the village budgets for its truck reserve by $75,000 to $125,000.
According to a schedule for fire department vehicle replacement, in 2013 the fire department will need to replace a 1993 Class A Pumper truck. A 1990 Heavy Rescue Truck is proposed to be replaced in 2015 and a second Class A Pumper truck proposed to be replaced in 2016.
According to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, the fire department has a little over $300,000 in its truck reserve as of this year. Fire Department First Assistant Chief Bill Bennett estimates replacing the first pumper truck will likely cost between $375,000 and $400,000. The rescue truck, estimated Bennett, will cost about $375,000 to replace in 2015 and in 2016 the second pumper truck may cost as much as $425,000.
That means, between the replacement of a chief’s vehicle proposed in this budget year and again in 2015 along with all truck replacements through 2016, the village would need to budget about$1.3 million to keep with the current truck replacement schedule, after taking into account what the fire department already has reserved.
During a budget work session on Friday, March 11 Mayor Brian Gilbride began to question, along with other board members, whether the village can afford to fund that schedule for vehicle replacement, or whether it should instead perform an assessment of the fire department fleet and come up a new schedule.
“In three years, we are looking at about $1.3 million before any costs for equipment,” said Gilbride. “That is a dilemma.”
On Monday, Gilbride said they may shift around the truck replacement schedule, and possibly shelve replacing the heavy rescue truck for the time being.
The next Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees work session on the budget will take place on Friday, March 25 at 3:30 p.m.