PLAINVILLE – The Plainville Town Council voted Monday to bond $2.1 million for two new fire trucks after receiving wide support at a public hearing.
The money will be used to replace two aging vehicles including a 30 year old pumper and 26 year old tower truck. Fire Chief Kevin Toner and several local firefighters attended the meeting and previously spoke to the necessity of replacing the trucks.
“The pumper is at the end of its 30 plus year life span and needs to be replaced,” explained Council Chair Kathy Pugliese. “The tower is approaching the end of its useful life. The best way to finance them is to issue bonds; go out to borrow money. A public vote will be held in June on this issue.”
Pugliese later noted that should the public vote fail, the council has agreed to meet and see that at least the pumper replacement is funded.
Former Councilor Patrick Kilby was among those who spoke in favor of the truck replacement. He noted that his grandfather is a retired Bristol firefighter of 22 years.
“These are brave individuals who run toward a disaster,” he said. “I hope that people show up and support our men and women getting the apparatus they need to perform their job protecting and serving the people of Plainville.”
Upon being questioned by resident Mark Swanson regarding the possibility of repairing the trucks, Toner explained that the parts for the pumper were “virtually impossible” to replace since the company that made them went out of business.
Marguerite Burris said she supported the firefighters and making sure that they had adequate equipment.
“This is essential equipment that needs to be replaced,” said resident Katherine LaBella.
“We’re not talking about an electronic blackboard,” said resident Lou Ferrangos. “We’re talking about things that will save people’s lives.”
Resident Arthur Screen said the firefighters “do a great job” and said that bonding the money would have the best financial impact for residents.
Following another public hearing with no comments, The Plainville Town Council approved three proposals from local nonprofits to qualify for the 2018 Neighborhood Assistance Act which would allow businesses who donate to them to receive tax credits. The proposals included an energy efficiency initiative for the Congregational Church of Plainville and an energy initiative and annual appeal for the Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain. This organization provides services in Plainville.
During the Town Manager’s report, Town Manager Robert E. Lee noted that the town building inspector planned to retire in August. He approached Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu about the possibility of sharing services. He said doing so would cost about $22,400 annually compared to the $25,000 it would cost to pay the current building inspector for working part time two days a week.
“I think this would be worthwhile to see how it would work out,” said Lee. “It can be difficult to find a certified building inspector and due to our relationship with the City of Bristol I think this would be a good opportunity to share services and save money.”
Lee said this service sharing proposal would be discussed further at the council’s first meeting in June.
Lee also noted that the Wheeler School renovation project is also coming in at about $800,000 less than the original amount budgeted for the project of $11,408,000.
Additionally, bids for the state mandated phosphorous reduction upgrades at the water pollution control facility will be opened May 17 at 2 p.m. at the municipal center. The town will then apply for the grant and loan portions of the project.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.