Fire District 1 approves $606,000 budget

Jun 10, 2020

Fire District 1 residents have approved a $606,000 budget for next year at a socially distanced annual meeting on June 10.

The budget includes a few big-ticket items such as a new 4x4 truck for the chief and fire engine refurbishments.

The highest value appropriation was $275,000 to refurbish a truck with a tower apparatus. 

Requests to fund this project will come from free cash, and will not require any tax increases.

Chief Peter Andrade said it would cost more than $1.5 million to replace the truck.

“We’re saving a lot of money keeping the apparatus we have and making it work like new,” he added. “We need to keep a good fleet.”

Also on the docket was $100,000 for architectural plans to renovate and modernize the station.

“This [station] was built in 1978, and not a lot of upgrades have been done in the past 40 years,” Deputy Chief Jake Bettencourt said.

Only one item drew any dissenting votes — the new 4x4 truck. 

Prudential Committee and Select Board member John Haran said he felt that it was not right to be spending thousands of dollars to replace a relatively new vehicle while so many are out of work due to the pandemic. He added that the fire district should wait until next year.

“I think that as a department and district that we have to show that we are also willing to make some sacrifices,” he said.

Andrade said he understands that times are tough for everyone, but assured the new truck is a worthwhile investment, adding that the current vehicle would continue use as a travel training vehicle.

“We’ll do the best to be as fiscally responsible with that purchase as we can,” he said.