Lower Paxton Township (PA) Fire Companies Compromise to Meet Fire Apparatus Needs

The three volunteer fire companies that serve Lower Paxton Township took what Lower Paxton Township Supervisor Gary Crissman called a “first great step” toward cooperation when they agreed to work with a trusted mediator to decide which companies need new apparatus and when.

Officials from Paxtonia, Linglestown and Colonial Park fire companies agreed to accept Lower Paxton Township Safety Director Dave Johnson as a neutral third party in often-heated discussions about the best way to spend funds for the fire departments.

The township’s capital fund for the fire companies has a $1 million balance and the wish list presented by the three companies adds up to $2.5 million:

$934,343 for a new 100-foot aerial ladder truck for Colonial Park Fire Company
$527,533 for a pumper for Linglestown Fire Company
$964,781 for a 100-foot aerial truck for Paxtonia Fire Company

A memo from Township Manager George Wolfe to the board of supervisors referred to a December 2011 Dauphin County study of countywide fire and emergency-service needs which said:

There is redundancy in fire engines among the three Lower Paxton Township fore companies.

There is aerial truck redundancy between Linglestown and Colonial Park companies.

None of the 37 pieces of fire equipment identified as overdue for replacement were owned by the three Lower Paxton companies.

In a long-term equipment replacement plan stretching to 2029, neither Linglestown’s nor Colonial Park’s current aerial truck was identified for replacement.

Wolfe said he recognized that cooperation is difficult among the departments, which each want the best and safest apparatus for their volunteers and the public they serve. Board Chairman Bill Hawk said he was sympathetic, too, but said, “How do we satisfy the need without breaking the bank?”

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