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Cheswick Council agrees to buy firetruck

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 1:41 a.m.

A new pumper is in the pipeline for the Cheswick Volunteer Fire Company.

Borough council voted 4-0 Tuesday to buy the firetruck from Rosenbauer America of South Dakota for about $354,000. Councilmen Jonathan Skedel, Neal Hohman and Brian Harvanek were absent.

The price includes a roughly $11,000 discount for pre-payment.

To pay for the truck, the borough will use $250,000 from a 2011 bond issue.

The borough will seek a loan, possibly from the state, to pay the rest, with the fire company committed to paying $50,000 toward those payments.

The fire company will pay its share through fundraising efforts and donations, company President Joe Ferraro said.

The new truck is expected to arrive in April. Council has until the truck arrives to work out the details of the loan, council President Vickie Roolf said.

It will replace a 1989 pumper, one of the department's three vehicles and its primary firefighting apparatus. Ferraro said the department hopes to keep the pumper in service with minimal repairs until its replacement arrives.

Buying the firetruck had been a contentious issue in the borough, in particular between Councilman Skedel and Ferraro.

In April, a jury found Skedel not guilty of assaulting Ferraro, stemming from a Sept. 19 altercation in a parking lot off Pittsburgh Street in Springdale.

At Tuesday's meeting, Ferraro did not want to talk about anything related to Skedel.

“You notice who's here and who's not here,” Ferraro said. “We're extremely happy that council is working with us. That's what we wanted all along.”

Reached after the meeting, Skedel said he did not attend because “there was nothing I could do to stop” the purchase.

Skedel said the borough could get fire protection services from Springdale Township for far less than buying the new truck.

“It makes no sense,” he said. “All they did was indebt the people of Cheswick and wasted the money. It was a joke. They did what they were going to do. I don't have to worry about it.”

Roolf said buying the truck was something the borough needed to do.

“We're responsible for the community,” she said. “I don't want my house burning down.”

Roolf said council can now move on to other matters.

One is the borough's water department, and deciding if council will repair the water treatment plant or continue to buy water from Harmar.

“We do have to make a decision on that,” she said.

Council is also reviewing bids for a new roof on the borough building. Council is reviewing two low bids, both around $7,000.

“I'm trying to get us back on track,” Roolf said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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