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Pine Plains Fire Company needs a new pumper, and voter support

The Millerton News Editorial

Readers of this week’s editorial will find it to be pretty direct and straight forward. That’s because the Pine Plains Fire Company needs a new firetruck, and we believe it should receive the public support to procure the funding to buy that firetruck. 

The fire company is asking Pine Plains taxpayers living within the fire district — men and women who are protected by the brave and selfless volunteer firefighters who serve from the Lake Road firehouse — to head to the polls for a special election on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and approve the purchase. To do so, voters would have to authorize the issuance of $275,000 in bonds to finance the cost of purchasing the new pumper.

 According to Pine Plains Fire Chief Brian Walsh, the department buys a piece of new apparatus every five years — planning and budgeting accordingly to do so. The fire pumper the department has its eye on right now costs about $375,000 — it’s a 2021 Class A Pumper that will replace an older, out-of-date pumper that’s having issues and costing the department quite a bit of money to constantly repair, which is why Walsh said it was chosen for replacement. 

That makes good financial sense and seems prudent, after all, proper planning can save the fire company money down the road. Not to mention, when it comes to providing equipment for emergency services, having the right kind of tools can end up saving lives. 

And a pumper is an indispensable and valuable piece of equipment for any local fire company, according to town Supervisor Darrah Cloud, who explained in her recent newsletter email that the fire company uses the pumper to “draw water from any available resource, such as a pond or stream, to fight a fire.” Cloud reminded town residents that “there are no hydrants at most of the outlying homes in the area,” which is why it’s so vital for the Pine Plains Fire Company to have reliable pumper trucks in its fleet, and why she is encouraging residents to vote for the referendum come the evening of Aug. 11.

The fire chief noted that in addition to drawing water from nearby resources, pumpers serve as mutual aid firetrucks that provide critical assistance to nearby municipalities like Millerton, Ancram and Milan, among many others, when they’re in need (and they, in turn, do the same for Pine Plains). The pumpers also serve as the Pine Plains Fire Company’s second-due engine, which ensures its own water supply when fighting fires at any number of locations.

The department already saved $100,000 for the purchase of the pumper it wants to buy and plans to bond the remaining $275,000 to cover the rest of the firetruck’s cost. That shows tremendous fiscal responsibility from the department and also shows it’s not jumping into the purchase hastily, another good reason to support the measure.

On the evening of the referendum, registered Pine Plains voters will be asked to either adopt or reject a resolution to authorize the fire department to issue the $275,000 in bonds. We hope voters will show their support and vote in favor of it.

The referendum will be held between 6 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Pine Plains firehouse, located at 7 Lake Road. Please wear a face covering and respect social distancing when voting.

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