Manville F.D. moves forward on buying new ladder truck

Manville F.D. moves forward on buying new ladder truck

LINCOLN - Wardens for the Manville Fire District are looking into obtaining a new ladder truck, and to get the process started, they voted to make Chairman Robert Lake the purchasing agent.

As the agent he will lead the charge in researching prices, evaluating proposals and preparing recommendations to the district taxpayers.

Lake said the board already has three companies in mind, as it did not go with a sealed bid, but rather a request for proposal.

One of those companies is Smeal Fire Apparatus Co., the firm that brokered the district's previous ladder truck.

When Smeal contacted the board back in September they sent a proposal over for one midmount LTI aerial truck, which would cost the district $680,252.

The other two companies being considered are KME Fire Apparatus and Sutphen.

Both KME and Sutphen were in the running back in 2012, when residents approved the previous ladder truck.

"We've had discussions with all three and they are preparing proposals right now," Lake said.

Regardless of whichever company the board chooses, Town Administrator T. Joseph Almond is urging taxpayers to vote down the ladder truck at the upcoming special meeting. The date of that meeting hasn't been announced yet.

"I'm just disappointed they are again going down a completely needless path to purchase a ladder truck for the town of Lincoln," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're a large city or a little fire district you can't take taxpayer money and throw it away."

Almond said if the district can afford to purchase a truck, it could afford to lower the fire tax more than 20 cents, which was approved at the annual meeting.

With a mutual aid agreement between Manville and Albion in place, Albion can provide a ladder truck if need be, he said.

Along with Albion, the Saylesville Fire District also has a ladder truck that can be used in case of an emergency.

"For us to have more ladder trucks than a city like Pawtucket, it's ridiculous," he said.

Almond said he is not criticizing the firefighters or the chief in Manville because he knows "their hearts are in their jobs."

And even though the district is an independent entity, he said, it is "crazy" for the board members to consider a new truck.

"Buying equipment they don't need, people need to be held accountable," he said.

Going forward, the Fire Chief Peter Adam must review the submitted proposals before making a recommendation to the board.

Ultimately, the taxpayers in Manville have the final say at a special meeting, which will be held sometime after January, Lake said.

"A majority of the taxpayers at meetings have supported the concept of purchasing a ladder truck, so it'll be voted on, but the preliminary poll is that it's something the district taxpayers want," he said.

The preliminary poll referenced by Lake occurred at the annual meeting in September, when he took a non-binding "straw vote" about the ladder truck.

Of the 58 people in attendance, two-thirds said yes to a truck.