New Milford (CT) Fire Chiefs Seek Funds to Replace Aging Fleets

Chiefs of the town’s three volunteer fire departments pleaded for more money to replace aging, outdated fire trucks.

The town contributes $150,000 a year to the departments’ capital program, but that amount doesn’t begin to cover the need, the chiefs told the Town Council. Another $150,000 to $250,000 is needed this year, and another $150,000 each year after that, they said.

The $150,000 annual outlay was sufficient at one time, said Jim Ferlow, chief of Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, but “that amount was established 31 years ago and the cost of fire apparatus has more than doubled since then.”

Karl Fuchs, chief of the Gaylordsville Volunteer Fire Department chief, said, “We have done our due diligence to meet new government requirements for trucks and equipment, but going forward $150,000 (a year) won’t work.

The chiefs gave council members a list of the 22 trucks shared by the three departments — pumpers, tankers, rescue vehicles and so on — including the dates each should go out of service and what it would cost to replace it with equipment meeting guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Authority and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“This is prudent,” Beth Faulder said. “It looks forward and looks like a tremendous amount of effort was put into this.”

Finance Director Ray Jankowski will be consulted on whether an extra $150,000 for equipment could be found in this fiscal year’s budget.

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