LONGMEADOW – Bay Path University recently pledged to make a sizeable donation toward the town’s purchase of a new fire apparatus.|
On June 24, Town Manager Stephen Crane received a letter from Bay Path President Carol Leary committing $50,000 toward a new quint truck for the Fire Department.
“We truly appreciate and value the service that [Fire] Chief Eric Madison and his staff have provided to our college community in the past. Their professionalism, rapid response and caring attitude are always evident,” she wrote. “Through the years, our two organizations have developed a wonderful working relationship by sharing professional expertise, conducting joint training sessions and sharing facilities. lt is my hope and expectation that this mutually beneficial relationship will continue well into the future.”
After the purchase of the vehicle is approved, the school would pay $10,000 over the next five years. The $50,000 donation would be in addition to the $50,000 the university pays annually in real estate taxes and $50,000 in payments in lieu of taxes.
“We are committed to being a strong community partner and a good neighbor and our pledge to support the purchase of the quint truck is yet another example of the importance we place on this collaborative relationship,” Leary wrote. ”On behalf of the entire campus community, we thank you and most importantly Chief Madison and his staff for their extraordinary service to the town of Longmeadow.”
A quint truck would be the first aerial vehicle in the Fire Department’s fleet since 1992. Since pulling its ladder truck out of operation, the town has relied on mutual aid primarily from East Longmeadow and the Thompsonville section of Enfield, Connecticut, to assist with aerial fire operations.
The Select Board initially agreed in August 2013 that the town’s next vehicle purchase for the department would be a quint in order to replace Engine 3, which is more than 25 years old. The apparatus, estimated at $730,000, was more expensive than a standard engine, which costs approximately $500,000. The purchase of a quint would only move forward if it was supplemented through donations or help from local businesses and nonprofits, the board agreed.
Madison pushed for the truck again with a February demonstration that was attended by representatives from Bay Path.
However, the board voted not to include a warrant article on the fall 2013 Special Town Meeting warrant due to the lack of funds raised from the community.
A petitioned warrant article calling for a referendum vote regarding debt exclusion to fund the purchase of the truck proposed for the May 2014 Annual Town Meeting was also removed after its legality was called into question.
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