LAKE GEORGE — The town and village of Lake George will not have another partner to share in the cost of a new firetruck, as Warrensburg officials did not want to take on any more debt.
Mayor Robert Blais had written a letter to Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty last month, asking if the town would be interested in paying one-third of the cost toward a new truck. Fire officials are looking to replace an existing 24-year-old firetruck with a new vehicle, possibly a Sutphen model, at an estimated cost of $900,000 to $1 million.
Blais had proposed an arrangement in which the truck would be stationed in Lake George for six months during the busy tourist season — from about May to October — and in Warrensburg for the rest of the year.
Blais said Wednesday that Warrensburg officials thanked him for the idea, but were not interested.
“They had just gone into debt with a new firehouse and they weren’t able to take on any additional debt service at this time,” he said.
Last year, the Warrensburg department built an 8,000-square-foot addition to its Elm Street station at a cost of about $1.6 million.
Blais said he was disappointed, but understood.
“I do believe in today’s economic environment and, because it’s a specialized piece of equipment, that we should always be looking at ways to share services and this would have been an excellent way because of the proximity of the two communities,” he said.
The town and village are moving forward and have put the specifications for the truck out to bid. The bids will be opened in February, according to Blais.
He said he would like to have a public hearing on the proposal to buy the vehicle.
“This is a very expensive piece of equipment and I’ve received some feedback from people in the community that are not in favor. They don’t believe that we need to replace the present truck,” he said.
This purchase would be bonded and is subject to a permissive referendum. Rather than be surprised later, Blais said he would like to gauge the mood of the taxpayer.
If purchased, the truck would not arrive until 2019, he said.
There is also the question about what to do with the existing truck, he added.
Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, who is also secretary-treasurer for the Warrensburg Board of Fire Commissioners, said the town did not want to share the cost because it has to stay under the tax cap.
The town took out bond anticipation notes for the firehouse, which will come due this April. The town will pay down some of the notes, then bond the remaining principal.
“Until we know how much we’re going to pay on the firehouse, we can’t take on any more debt,” Geraghty said.