At the Borough of Wenonah Business Meeting held on Thursday, June 23, 2016, Borough Council unanimously agreed to move forward with a potential purchase of a new or demo fire truck to replace the current 1992 Grumman which by the time a new truck is authorized, will be 26 years old and has already developed numerous mechanical issues. The Wenonah Fire Company, (WFC), will be seeking either a new or demonstrator with a cost not to exceed $500,000. During the next year, the WFC will develop the specifications for a vehicle that meets the Borough’s needs. The bidding process will then follow. In order to minimize the financial impact on local taxes, the new vehicle is projected to be placed into service no earlier than August of 2018.
From the January 2016 initial request from the WFC for replacement consideration, the Public Safety & Finance Committees have been charged with the overall review of the Borough’s specific need for fire services, possible shared services with other local fire companies, not replacing the current vehicle and making repairs, purchasing a newer used vehicle, current and future state of the WFC and trends for the availability of ample volunteers, and the analysis of the financial impact on the taxpayer. Moreover, from a safety perspective, the effect on the overall response time to a fire in Wenonah and potential impact on life and property versus the potential response from an “outside” vendor. (These were anecdotal and estimates only).
Some initial budget projections beginning in August of 2018 or the purchase year, include a 10-year payoff of a $500,000 note at about $53,000 per year of principal and interest. The estimated budget for the WFC at $25,000 per year, and an estimated **LOSAP contributions of $15,000 per year indicating a total cost of $93,000 or $103.00 per household, (900 households), to fund the all -volunteer WFC. (During the past two decades this annual cost has remained relatively constant as the Borough rolled off an older vehicle in place of a newer one. Essentially, any tax increase will be minimal if any). The WFC has agreed to lower its annual budget from the current $35,000 to $25,000 in 2018 as a contribution towards the cost of the new fire truck. Also, maintenance and repair costs will be substantially less on the new vehicle versus the 1992 Grumman.
Please contact Jack Sheppard Jr., 609-980-9918,(Chair of the Public Safety & Personnel Committee ), or Bill Norris,610-368-3938, (Chair of the Finance Committee), for more information on the process and investigation.
** LOSAP-Length of Service Awards Program approved via referendum.