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Massena plans to bond to purchase new fire engine

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MASSENA — Village officials plan to borrow money to finance the lease of a new firetruck to replace an aging pumper.

The village Board of Trustees will vote March 19 on a resolution to take out $475,000 in bonds for the new fire engine, according to village officials. If approved, the bonds would be subject to a permissive referendum, which mandates that any action on the bonds be delayed for a 30-day waiting period to allow concerned members of the public to petition against the bonding.

Massena Fire Department Chief Thomas C. Miller said the new engine would replace either a 1987 truck or a smaller 1989 truck. “Both have cost us large amounts of money repairing them over the years,” Mr. Miller said.

He described the pumper the department is seeking to lease as an “initial-attack, front-line truck.” The pumper is equipped with a water tank, hoses, ladders, ventilation equipment, air packs and other equipment that is critical to extinguishing a blaze. It is the first vehicle to respond to the scene of a fire, Mr. Miller said.

The Fire Department has six vehicles: a tanker truck, a tower ladder, an equipment truck, two full-size pumpers and the smaller 1989 pumper, which is specially designed to extinguish grass fires. Replacing the 1989 pumper could provide another resource for responding to fires and would save on the costs of repairing the trucks.

Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said the village’s Fire Committee has considered using $50,000 from the fire equipment capital fund to make a down payment on the truck to reduce interest costs on the financing. However, interest rates are so low that village officials may find it preferable to finance the purchase without using reserve funds.

In other news from the fire station, Massena Fire Department foreman and career firefighter Kenneth J. McGowan said fellow career firefighter Walter J. Bean had completed his code compliance training, bringing to six the number of Massena career firefighters trained in code enforcement.

Following the retirement of code enforcement officer Gregory C. Fregoe on Jan. 22, the Fire Department has been responsible for code enforcement in the village.

Three career firefighters, Mr. McGowan, Aaron T. Hardy and Bill O’Brien, are fully trained code enforcement officers. Three others, Mr. Bean, Jeremy Lefeve and Matthew R. Tuper, are trained as code compliance technicians.

A code compliance technician is trained in enforcing the fire and property maintenance codes, but is not certified in other code enforcement officer duties, such as issuing building permits or inspecting new construction projects.

Mr. Tuper recently began his code enforcement training, Mr. McGowan told the village board. Once Mr. Tuper’s training is complete, the Massena Fire Department will be able to keep one official fully trained in code enforcement on staff at all times of the week, Mr. McGowan said.

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