We understand the need to be safe and battle blazes, but area municipal boards are being far too generous when it comes to fire truck purchases.
Last week, the Silver Creek Village Board moved forward with a $150,000 purchase of a 1993 Pierce truck that combines a pumper with a rescue and includes an aerial device. Not long before that approval, the village of Fredonia approved the purchase of a $500,000 new custom pumper in June. As part of the deal, the village will be paying about $250,000 for the piece of equipment.
How can two villages, both with dwindling services and budget issues, justify the purchases?
In Silver Creek, the truck being purchased is apparently too large to fit in the fire hall. Add in the village's recent cut to the Police Department - because of lack of funds - and residents have to wonder just why the truck, which will be stationed at the Department of Public Works facility outside the village, is needed.
Fredonia, which has one of the biggest and best trucks money can buy in the area, will now have another. This village, which refuses to find $5,500 for membership in Chadwick Bay Regional Development, had no problem dropping a quarter of a million dollars for the truck.
No matter what residents think about keeping the local departments, if the fire is large enough it will always be a regional event - whether it happens in the city of Dunkirk, Stockton, Forestville, Portland or Hanover.
We already have a lot of trucks in this region. That is a lot of money for a dwindling population to maintain.
"We have always kept the village in mind with our plans," said one Silver Creek firefighter. "We are taxpayers too and we keep that in mind. We always try to fill the gaps with our fund drives so that that will not be a burden on the taxpayers."
But those fund drives ultimately tap the same people who are paying some of the highest local taxes in the nation - the residents.