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Voters douse plans for new G’town fire truck


GERMANTOWN—The Germantown Fire District put a bond resolution for a new fire truck to a vote on January 23, and then watched it go down in flames.

The vote was 59 against the $400,000 bond and 28 in favor.

The Board of Fire Commissioners met Monday and agreed to “re-evaluate our direction in the purchase of a new truck,” board Chairman Roy Brown said Tuesday. The commissioners had been looking to consolidate two older trucks—a 1987 pumper and a rescue truck—into one new truck, he said, in an effort to stay in compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards of rotating trucks out of service every 20 years.

The Fire District consists of one company, Germantown Hose Company #1, on Main Street.

The bond resolution stated that the “maximum estimated cost” of the new truck would be no more than $700,000 and that the fire district would pay the balance, $300,000, from “current available funds.”

The taxpayers, who would ultimately pay for the $400,000 bond, didn’t buy it. At Monday’s meeting “people said they weren’t aware of what we were doing,” said Mr. Brown. “But they hadn’t been to any of our three presentations about the equipment.”

The presentations were given in the fall of 2016 and reported in The Columbia Paper in October 2016. Now the board will update it the presentation, said Mr. Brown, and set about re-educating the public. They look to give talks at the library and before the Town Board and Board of Education, with an eye toward putting the bond resolution to a vote again in a few months.

Mr. Brown expressed surprise at the relatively large turnout of voters, who must live in the fire district and be registered to vote with the Board of Elections. By contrast, in the commissioner election in December 2017 company firefighter Michael Mortenson won a seat on the board in an uncontested election, with nine votes–the total counted.

The Fire District can bring out voters, however. The commissioner election in December 2016 drew 87 votes total, including 15 write-ins. Richard Jennings II won with 71 votes. And the commissioner election in December 2012 drew a historic turnout of 225 voters (128 for Patrick Ebling, 97 for George Sharpe).

The current Board of Commissioners consists of Mr. Brown, Stephen Cox, John Gay, Mr. Jennings and Mr. Mortenson.

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