The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners is still reviewing the Eastern Salisbury Fire Company's request for a new fire truck.
The board delayed a decision at its budget meeting last month on a new $625,000 pumper truck because they want more information to determine if it's more cost-effective to refurbish the existing pumper truck or buy a new one.
By a vote of four to one, the commissioners deferred allocating the cost of a new fire truck into the fire fund, but held open the possibility by creating a $1 line item that enables them to later transfer the full amount. Commissioner Norma Cusick voted against the motion.
Eastern Salisbury Fire Chief Clint Ballek said the fire company was already two years behind its equipment replacement plan, which was created to phase in its equipment needs.
"That whole program was put together when things were good. Now things are not good," said Commissioner Robert Martucci Jr.
Martucci said he spoke to a service technician from Penn Liberty about the condition of the truck and was told it could be repaired and "easily make another two or three years after the refurbish."
Martucci said $100,000-$150,000 to repair the truck might be reasonable, but he still wanted more estimates.
"Is there anyone who can look at this truck , who can say what this truck needs?," he said.
Ballek said he would get another refurbishing company to evaluate the truck and write a report.
A firefighter questioned the wisdom of refurbishing a truck and only getting two more years of service from it. He said the truck be worth even less when it is sold, while the price of a new truck will continue to rise.
"You're just throwing money away," he said.
Steve Schneider, chief of Western Salisbury Fire Company, said part of the problem was the township was setting aside only $50,000 every year for fire equipment based on the old phase-in plan.
"Back then an engine was $150,000. Today, it's $500,000. Today, it costs $890,000 to replace an aerial. Upper Saucon just paid $1.2 million. Apparatus has gone up significantly and we're still putting away only $50,000. "
Martucci said any immediate safety issues on the pumper truck should be addressed.
Commissioner James Seagreaves said he wanted to make sure the board had enough information to make an informed decision.
"The fire department are not the bad guys here," he said.