PARIS — Selectmen unanimously voted to accept a federal grant toward the acquisition of a tanker for the Fire Department. The board is waiting to hear what effect a current retrofit process may have on the funds.
The Paris Fire Department was recently approved for $190,000 through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program from the Department of Homeland Security that aims to strengthen emergency response. The town must contribute a $10,000 match to receive the funds.
The department’s tanker was put out of commission last year after firefighters found damage to the chassis and a leak in the tank, a 2,250-gallon former oil container donated by CN Brown. In January, voters at a special town meeting approved $38,525 to purchase a new 2,500-gallon tank. The funds were taken from an insurance settlement awarded after the collapse of a portion of the former fire station on Pine Street in 2008.
Chief Brad Frost said $28,338 has been spent so far to purchase the tank and chutes for the truck. He said he asked Northeast Fire Apparatus of Auburn to stop work on the upgrade after finding that the department would receive the federal grant. He said the town’s investment or future costs to mount the tank and make other improvements may count toward the matching funds.
Frost said the cost of the tanker is uncertain at this point, as it has not gone out to bid. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will have to approve whether the purchased tank can be mounted on a new truck chassis or if the town will have to purchase a new tanker truck.
“One thing I don’t want to be short on is horsepower,” Frost said. “Everywhere you go around here you’re going up a hill.”
Chairman Raymond Glover said that if the tank approved in January cannot be used, it could be sold along with the old truck chassis to recoup funds.
“I think $10,000 for $190,000 is a pretty good investment,” he said.
Selectman Ted Kurtz said the grant could mean an additional $10,000 cost to the town if FEMA does not allow the transfer of the purchased tank. He also said he wanted to ensure that the town would not be saddled with additional costs for purchasing a new tanker and keeping the old one.
Town Manager Phil Tarr said that the acceptance of the funds does not commit the town to spending the money, and that the board can decide against that action if need be.
“You have at least one more opportunity when it comes back here,” he said.