Alpha (NJ) Fire Officials Disagree on Fire Apparatus Purchase

Alpha officials can agree on something: the volunteer fire company needs a new truck. What they didn’t all agree on at Tuesday’s council meeting is how they should buy it.

Councilman Louis Cartabona said the borough will pay a higher price for the truck through the co-operative purchasing program they agreed to use Tuesday than they would if officials solicited bids for the truck themselves.

Chief Financial Officer Lorraine Rossetti, however, said the co-op bids what it offers for purchase and the borough takes advantage that it has already gone through the process. The borough in this case might also have had to hire someone to draw up bid specifications and advertise them, which is costly, she said.

Officials voted to purchase the Pierce pumper truck, which costs about $525,000, in January. Councilman Tom Seiss has abstained from decisions about the new truck because he’s the vice president of the Alpha Volunteer Fire Co.

Alpha Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Sean McDyer said one of the main reasons the company wanted the Pierce pumper is reputation. It’s made under one roof and the service is better and closer than some other manufacturers, he said.

He asked why Cartabona suddenly wanted to go out to bid when he hadn’t discussed it with him, the mayor or a majority of the fire company.

Mayor Ed Hanics responded Tuesday that Cartabona had been persuaded to stall by people who don’t want the truck. He declined to elaborate Wednesday. Cartabona disputed that.

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