Brian Pugh: Prioritizing Public Safety

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Last week’s Village Board Work Session some intense discussion regarding the replacement of the Croton Fire Department’s Engine 118. To me, the matter is fairly straightforward: the weight of expert opinion favors timely replacement and common sense dictates that equipment necessary for public safety be prioritized for our Village’s capital budget.

“Accepted [fire] apparatus maintenance cycles have typically been an annual cycle and the lifespan of apparatus has traditionally been 20 years for an engine (pumper) or rescue,” according to a report the Village received from East West Fire Apparatus Consultants Inc. in 2016. Engine 118, a pump truck, is some 24 years old at this point–well past the standard lifespan.

“Keeping apparatus past expected life expectancies, except as spare, is rarely a good idea, often more costly than municipalities estimate, and can lead to increased replacement costs. Keeping older apparatus also usually delays replacement, this negatively affects replacement cycles and usually costs more in the long-term,” warns the 2016 Consultant’s report.

In addition to the outside expert, our own Volunteer Fire Department, which includes some residents that are professional firefigthers in their day job, has been zealous in its advocacy for a replacement for the 20+ year old truck.

Last year, the Board unanimously approved a capital budget that anticipated the replacement of Engine 118 AND the replacement of the DPW garage. Therefore, I find it hard to understand the objection by some on the Board that Engine 118’s replacement needs to be deferred in the name of fiscal discipline–particularly when the Village Manager acknowledge last Monday that Engine 118 could be replaced without increasing overall debt.

The discussion around Engine 118 highlights the need to govern on the basis of facts and not rhetoric. With these precepts in mind, I hope the Board majority will make a reasoned decision on this issue.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

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