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Commissioners: New rescue truck won’t break the bank

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Fire Commissioners met Monday night at the Center firehouse.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Fire Commissioners met Monday night at the Center firehouse.

Shelter Island Fire Commissioners Monday night approved the purchase of a new rescue truck expected to cost about $200,000.

The money is already in the bank and the purchase won’t affect taxes.

In fact, the commissioners’ $863,702 budget for 2015, while increasing spending slightly, will actually result in a cut in taxes as a result of a wider tax base, according to District Treasurer Amber Williams.

A committee of firefighters and commissioners has been looking at needs for the new rescue truck and developed specs that will greenlight advertising for bids in December.

The current rescue truck was purchased in about 1988, according to Liam Keating who has been involved in helping identify what’s needed in the new vehicle.

The existing truck is alright to use as an auxiliary, but shouldn’t continue to be relied on as the first rescue truck in an emergency, Mr. Keating said after the commissioners meeting.

That truck was a bare bones model that then had to be equipped with the existing technology to serve its purpose, he said. The new truck will be purchased with all the necessary upgraded equipment already in place.

Cell tower
Where is Elite Towers? That’s the question Commission Chairman Keith Clark raised Monday night.

Before the district signed a contract enabling the Deer Park-based company to pursue permits and run tests that could lead to a new cell tower at the Manhansett Firehouse on Cobbett’s Lane, Mr. Clark spoke with Justin Saper of Elite several times a day. Since the contract was signed, he hasn’t heard a word, Mr. Clark said, promising to reach out to Mr. Saper to determine if the company is indeed planning to pursue the project.

A call to Mr. Saper about the project status has yet to be returned.

Mr. Clark faces a re-election bid on December 9 when voting will take place at the Center Firehouse between 6 and 9 p.m. Because there is no opposition, the commissioners approved voting by paper ballot.

After contending with some complaints about the use of paper ballots two years ago, the commission decided that machine voting would be used whenever there was a contested election. Accordingly, they called for a voting machine last year, but it failed to arrive and paper ballots were again used.

An agreement between Shelter Island and Southampton fire districts is expected to be inked soon, so local firefighters can use a training facility in Hampton Bays beginning sometime in early 2015. Second Assistant Chief Anthony Reiter told the commissioners Southampton has been enthusiastic about sharing the facility and that he’s waiting for paper work to be finalized.

Organizational meeting
Commissioners will hold their organizational meeting on January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Center Firehouse.