Brian Pugh: Action Needed Now on Engine 118 Replacement

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

In 2016, the Board unanimously approved the replacement of Engine 118 in the 2016-17 capital budget. But late this year, the current administration told the Volunteer Fire Department that it would have to wait for the purchase of a replacement.

Ostensibly, this delay was for financial reasons–the administration claimed it was necessary to use funds scheduled for Engine 118 to purchase the new Department of Public Works (DPW) facility. However, the 2016-17 capital budget anticipated funding for both Engine 118 AND the new DPW facility. Furthermore, the Village Manager confirmed at a televised work session that the Village could purchase Engine 118 even while reducing its overall debt level.

Even more troubling is when the Mayor suggested that mutual aid assistance from other fire departments would provide adequate coverage if the aging engine were to become inoperable. This was not well received by members of other departments.

“No department should be begging to have a 20 year old rig replaced…mutual aid is not always reliable, it can often take minutes to assemble a crew from a different department,” wrote one volunteer from another Northern Westchester community.

In June, the Village approved a capital plan that included the replacement of Fire Engine 118 in the next fiscal year. However, in order for that replacement to happen on time, the procurement process must begin in 2017.

I hope that our Board will do the right thing, avoid another round of “bait-and-switch” and move to replace Engine 118 with all deliberate speed.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh
Village Trustee, Croton on Hudson

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