LAKE GEORGE — A proposal to purchase a demonstration model firetruck could be extinguished because the vehicle does not meet the specifications that were part of the bid.
The Lake George Volunteer Fire Company wants to purchase a 70-foot Sutphen demonstrator aerial truck for $892,662. However, the price includes some options that Fire Chief Jason Berry had wanted to add, including shelves in the storage compartment, handheld lights, a remote button to sound the air horn and pike poles used for pulling shingles off roofs. This is equipment that a firetruck uses but would not be needed in a vehicle that is only used to display at trade shows. This tacked on about $8,000 to the cost.
Village Mayor Robert Blais said Thursday that he found out that, legally, the truck the department purchases must adhere to requirements spelled out in the request for bids.
“It has to come off the assembly line meeting the specifications,” he said.
“If they choose to bring that truck up to specs, they have to give it to us for the original price,” Blais added.
The village could remove the add-ons or purchase a new model of the truck. That quoted price was $915,771.
Berry said Thursday in an email he is going to follow up with the mayor and have an answer about what the department wants to do at the Village Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
The board is taking no action at that meeting because it wants to defer to the Town Board, Blais said. The town is paying 77 percent of the cost of the truck, which is based upon the assessed value of the two communities.
Blais said he met with town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson and Deputy Supervisor Vinnie Crocitto, who told him that the Town Board wants to wait a bit to give people a chance to circulate petitions to hold a nonbinding “straw vote” on whether to buy the truck.
“They think there’s a lot of people in the town that might be concerned about that,” he said.
Because the town is not borrowing the money, it is not subject to referendum.
When the village bonds the money, Blais said it is subject to a permissive referendum if somebody circulates a petition within 30 days of the legal notice.
If the demonstrator model were purchased, it would increase the Fire District 1 tax rate from about 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to about 56 cents per $1,000. The average homeowner with an assessment of about $200,000 would see an increase of about $21 in the fire tax portion of the tax bill, to a total of $112.
Dickinson said he wants to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. The turnout for Tuesday’s public meeting was nearly all firefighters.
Dickinson said it is an important piece of equipment, but it is expensive.
“We’d like to replace it. My only concern is that people in the fire district know what the cost is and (are) willing to accept it,” he said.
He encourages people to contact their elected officials regarding this topic.
The Town Board will take up the matter at a meeting to be scheduled later this month.