After selling their 2009 aerial ladder truck, the Northampton Fire Department asked Northampton Borough Council to approve the purchase of a new Pierce aerial ladder truck. However, during their meeting on Thursday, September 19, some councilmembers opted to table the motion.
Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. said he was not “comfortable” with the purchase of the truck, which would cost $1.4 million. The 15-year loan would cost the borough nearly $80,000 per year.
He cited the hire of new full-time employees in the borough and MS4 sewer plant costs, which he indicated are higher priority than the new fire truck.
“We are talking about a good amount of money [and] I do not think it is a real pressing issue,” he said. “I would rather have a good idea financially of where we are going.”
Councilwoman Judy Kutzler, fire committee chair, agreed.
She told fire chief Keith Knoblach that she wants a handwritten report of the fire trucks available from surrounding municipalities that can be used for mutual aid.
Councilman Tony Pristash motioned to table the decision, siding with Kutzler and Lopsonzski, Sr. Councilmen Keith Piescinski and Kenneth Hall were against the decision to table.
“[The cost] is a wider hole than what we can be comfortable with right now,” explained Lopsonzski, Sr.
Mayor Thomas Reenock was also against the purchase.
“For 45 years, the borough has been paying off a fire truck,” he said. “If you think we are going to [purchase this] without a tax increase, you are nuts.”
The previous ladder truck was owned outright by the borough. It was sold to Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus for $350,000.
In other news, Pat Knopf, coordinator of the Northampton Borough Farmers’ Market, asked the borough for help with vandalism and loitering at Municipal Park. She said during the farmers’ market, teenagers are playing loud music, riding their bikes through the market, throwing footballs around vendors, cursing, and stealing the playground equipment from children.
“I need help for next year,” she said. “I am at a loss of what to do.”
She said the police have been unable to remove the teenagers from the public property.
Mayor Reenock supported Knopf’s claims and asked the police to do more.
Finally, Mayor Reenock asked council to approve the relocation of the borough VFW’s cannon from their former headquarters on Main Street to the veteran’s memorial plot at 14th Street and Washington Avenue.
The mayor said the alternative would be losing the cannon, which he could not support. He called the military piece a symbol of history and a representation of the local veterans.
Council unanimously approved the motion.