Uxbridge considers how to pay for fire department needs

Uxbridge considers how to pay for fire department needs - New hall, fire trucks projected to cost $2 million over two years.

UXBRIDGE -- With a projected $2 million needed over the next two years to pay for a new fire hall and fire trucks in Uxbridge, politicians are looking at financing options as they prepare this year's municipal budget and resulting tax rate.

"It's a hard pill to swallow," said Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor. "We are damned if we do, damned if we don't ... we can't put firefighters in a position where health and safety rules are being broken."

After politicians reviewed the fire department's 10-year plan in December, the 2013 and 2014 financial requests went under a magnifying glass. Fire Chief Scott Richardson was asked to look at leasing options for two new vehicles that are needed, with the possibility of lowering the cost.

According to Chief Richardson, approximately $3.5 million is needed for the new fire hall, to be located at Brock Street west of Quaker Village Drive and operational by 2014, plus a possible two new vehicles.

The department's pumper rescue truck is slowly deteriorating and, according to Chief Richardson, it spends 10 days per year out of service with regular maintenance costs coming in at approximately $20,000.

A new pumper rescue truck would be $500,000 and the fire department would also require a new tanker, priced at an approximate $450,000, in 2014.

"It's a large commitment," said Chief Richardson at a recent budget meeting.

A new tanker would be used for rural areas as it would be capable of carrying larger loads of water where water hydrants are not available. According to Chief Richardson, the current tanker is capable of carrying 1,400 gallons of water which runs out in less than three minutes.

But with concerns on the amount of funds needed for the fire department, Councillor Jacob Mantle and Councillor Pat Mikuse suggested looking into lease agreements for the new vehicles to lower the cost.

Chief Richardson attended a budget meeting Monday with four financing options outlined, including lease to own, borrowing money from Durham Region, borrowing the funds from Township reserves or buying the vehicles by using a portion of the fire department reserve funds while financing the outstanding balance from the Township reserve funds.

The report was received for information. Budget discussions continue as politicians work to set this year's tax rate.

Link to article: Uxbridge considers how to pay for fire department needs

<back to headlines