Almond: Now's the time for Manville to merge, share ladder truck

Almond: Now's the time for Manville to merge, share ladder truck

LINCOLN - Town Administrator T. Joseph Almond said this week that while he's still awaiting an outside legal opinion on the status of the performance bond issued to cover the $300,000 deposit by Manville residents on their new ladder truck, he's "implor(ing) the board of fire wardens of Manville Fire District to abandon any current or future plans to expend $700,000 on the purchase of a new ladder truck."

Said Almond, "I did not believe, and still do not believe, that the Manville Fire District needs a new ladder truck."

Almond points out that two other Lincoln fire districts have ladder trucks - "one of which is a very short distance away in Albion and the other in the Saylesville district."

Said Almond, "Even if the Manville district remained independent, it could adequately serve its residents and responsibly serve its taxpayers through a mutual aid agreement with neighboring districts at significant cost savings."

Almond's comments came 10 days after the district learned that American LaFrance, the Pennsylvania company that was making its quint-style ladder truck, had closed its doors in what appears a bankruptcy situation. The bond with Westchester Fire Company that was to have insured the district's $300,000 deposit on the $685,834 truck was taken out by American LaFrance rather than the district, and it may now be part of the legal proceedings, observers are suggesting.

How and when the truck will be completed, and whether it can then be warranted, remain unanswered questions, too.

Manville Chief Peter Adam, meanwhile, told The Breeze he's heard nothing new on the status of the truck that he has said was two-thirds completed when he visited the American LaFrance plant in December.

Adam has said earlier he was assured the truck would be completed.

Additionally, Almond this week is also suggesting that "this incident should highlight and encourage the concept of voluntary mergers between fire districts."

He's urging the wardens to resume consolidation talks with neighboring fire districts, saying "$700,000 could be much better invested into consolidated and improved fire protection for the residents of Manville, and offer stability to future increasing tax burdens with the adoption of district mergers."

Almond is also suggesting that residents attend district meetings "and object to any new or future purchase of fire apparatus."

Wardens have been meeting on the second Wednesday of the month, but often scheduling additional meetings. Meetings are posted on the Rhode Island Secretary of State website, though at midweek none was listed.

Kenneth Pichette, the Town Council member representing Manville, is urging the wardens to call a special meeting of the district to update residents on what's happening with this truck approved in August of 2012 and due for delivery a year later.

Adam said no meetings are scheduled as of midweek.

Comments

Seems to me there the wardens will do whatever they want. They ignore anyone who has a differing opinion other than their's.

The chief is trying to protect his little kingdom that he has going. The department should be ashamed

I've witnessed the actions of a few "concerned" Manville taxpayers as they work to slander and defile the hard work of a fire department that is primarily volunteer. I've witnessed the actions of a few "concerned" Manville taxpayers as they harass the wardens because of their individual agendas. I've witnessed a valley breeze writer misconstrue facts by not bothering to fact (or opinion) check. I've also witnessed the work of Joe Almond as he works to merge the fire districts. I agree that consolidation breeds efficiency... Lets all look at Coventry; however, the efficiency isn't going to be for the village of Manville. The village is financially solvent, and some of the others in the town of Lincoln aren't. Manville's assets will be absorbed to cover the debt incurred by other Fire Departments that haven't properly allocated their resources. In the end, Manville will face higher taxes and longer response times. Volunteers will be replaced with unions, and the numbers of responders on trucks will reduce (because it costs too much money to staff a full union crew). The only true cost savings will be for the Albion, Saylesville and the other town taxpayers... Not for the village of Manville. I feel that if Manville's town council member was truly concerned with the needs of the district that he would inform his constituents of these issues, and help defend them. Manville has become a cesspool for backroom politics and individual agendas.

Marcia... Did you check this for accuracy?