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Trafford officials to tally amount owed before issuing check

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Trafford Council now intends to follow through on paying a disputed $8,000 grant to the Trafford Fire Company, but the transaction won't be as simple as cutting a check.

Council members said they still have to confirm how much the department owes the borough for some work on the new public-safety building and damage caused to the new fire-alarm control panel when the alarm wouldn't shut off.

And the fire chief insists the department would be owed money if the company and town compared bills.

Council President Rich Laird said last week that borough officials would follow through on the grant, which initially was included in the 2012 budget. That's a change of heart from September, when officials said they wouldn't pay it because they questioned how much about the grant was discussed in public.

Wording about a “discretionary contribution” of $8,000 to the department was included in a January 2012 resolution in which council voted 5-2 to transfer ownership of a fire truck to the firefighters.

“The resolution was not read completely when it was voted on, so for some, it probably was a blind vote, but it was voted on, so we're going to honor that $8,000,” Laird said.

Despite being willing to pay the money, Laird said, it's possible the firefighters might owe the borough about $225 instead.

Council members said the firefighters owe $6,388 for a previously approved alteration to the new building. The borough also has an invoice for $1,836 to repair the alarm panel.

Before the firefighters had a key to the building, they drilled three small holes into a piece of plastic to insert a straw to disable the alarm, which had been going off for two hours, fire Chief Brian Lindbloom said.

By doing that, they also damaged a piece of plastic film on the electrical box.

Lindbloom said the borough will end up owing the department because the firefighters put up $10,000 to help pay for changes to the building when the borough was struggling financially last year.

“We can compare invoices and figure out how much you owe us and how much we owe you, but I promise you it's going to come out with the fire department being owed money,” Lindbloom said.

“The borough didn't have the money to pay anything at the time, yet the building could not stop,” he added.

As for the fire alarm, council directed Solicitor Craig Alexander to research if the damage would void the warranty on the system purchased through Keystone Electrical Systems of North Versailles.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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