GREENWOOD – Spurned twice by voters, the Greenwood Fire Department is seeking support from residents in raising money for a new emergency vehicle.

Late last month, a 44-30 vote at a town meeting rejected an effort by the department to purchase a 1992 rescue and command vehicle for $75,000. Voters had previously turned down a request for $225,000 to buy a new rescue vehicle.

“We’re going to have to depend on the generosity of our citizens,” said Chief Jim Owens of the Greenwood Fire Department.

Owens said the Greenwood Fireman’s Association has started raising money for a new vehicle. The association has mailed a request for donations to residents and plans to hold fundraisers such as raffles and car washes.

Currently, the department uses a 1982 school bus that was purchased from SAD 44 to transport its equipment. Owens said the vehicle is not designed for its current use, is overloaded, unsafe and at a point where it needs to be retired.

Greenwood is part of the Northern Oxford Mutual Aid Association, in which each member brings specific pieces of equipment to a fire. Greenwood is in charge of bringing an air cascade system that refills air bottles used by firefighters.

“If the bus doesn’t make it or the bus goes out of service, that service is no longer available to our firefighters,” Owens said.

Greenwood secured the bid for the 1992 truck, which is a surplus vehicle in Montgomery County, Md. Owens said no money has been put down on the truck and there was no specific deadline for raising the necessary funds.

Before the last town vote, Owens argued that the average taxpayer in the town would pay $65 toward the purchase over five years. The purchase was recommended by the selectmen and the Capital Improvement Committee.

Owens said he believed an aversion to higher taxes led the town to vote down the measure.

“If it had been $5,000, I really don’t think it would have gone through,” he said.

He said he was unsure if the fundraising effort would be enough to purchase the $75,000 truck. While the department is eligible for federal grants, he said replacement of vehicles at rural departments is a low priority. Moreover, he did not believe a loan would be feasible if the payments were being raised by donations.

Nevertheless, Owens said the school bus would be replaced by a vehicle more suited to the job, even if the department is unable to buy the 1992 truck.

“We’ll raise what we can. We will replace the vehicle with something,” he said. “We don’t know what that will be just yet.”


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