Kittanning sells fire truck; denies payment of insurance on used vehicle

| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

KITTANNING — Council announced on Monday the sale of a borough-owned fire truck and voted to deny payment of insurance on a used fire truck recently purchased by Hose Co. 1.

The borough sold the 2007, aerial ladder truck to the New England Fire Equipment & Apparatus for $452,505. Council had purchased the truck for Hose Co. 1, but made the decision to sell it because of the economic distress.

Disbursements were paid to F&M Bank for $298,253.52 and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for $118,942.54.

“We made $35,308 on the deal,” said Council President Chris Schiano.

However, Betty Thompson, borough secretary, said the borough had ended up making more payments than planned prior to the sale because of delays.

At last month's meeting, Solicitor Chase McClister read a letter which alleged representatives of Hose Co. 1 “repeatedly tried to sour the sale of the truck.”

On Monday, Kevin Kline, assistant chief of Hose Co. 1, made no mention of the aerial truck, but asked that the borough pay for the insurance of a used fire truck purchased by the fire company.

According to a recent news release by Jerry Shuster, president of Hose Co. 1, the company acquired a 1990, 75-foot platform aerial truck “that would provide a very effective but temporary stopgap measure to assure more effective and strategically sound fire protection for the area the fire company serves.”

According to the release, Shuster said the apparatus is not permanent. He said the fire company applied for a FEMA grant for a new 105-foot aerial truck and is continuing the fund drive, “Rung for the Ladder II” to help pay for a new aerial truck.

Kline asked council to cover the insurance costs on the used truck because it would cost less if the borough paid for it than if the fire company paid it.

“You can get an insurance break on that, at less than $1,000 annually,” said Kline.

Shiano argued that the fire company did not seem to be concerned with cost since they bought a used truck which he called “a piece of junk.”

According to Schiano, the truck was made in the 1970s and was renovated in the 1990s.

Kline did not dispute Schiano, but instead thanked council for its time.

Council voted 7-1 to deny the request for insurance coverage. Councilman Ange Turco voted against it.

Councilman Andrew Peters said of his vote to deny coverage: “I was informed how some certain members had taken a vendetta against us.”

Councilwoman Kim Fox said, “Had that sale not gone through, we would really have been in dire straights.”

In other news:

• Fox told council that volunteer efforts are under way to raise funds for a K-9 drug sniffing dog. She said about $3,800 has been raised and the $16,000 Ben Roethlisberger Foundation grant proposal has been submitted.

She also pointed out that District Attorney Scott Andreassi supports the effort.

“I spoke with the DA and he is 100 percent behind us,” she said, adding that he has no plans to get a dog through his office.

• Council thanked Pat Wolfe,of the Kittanning Rotary Club for the club's efforts regarding the “Beauty in the Riverfront Park” project. Wolfe announced the formal ending of Rotary's involvement in the project.

• Council opened two bids for replacing the roof of Hose Co. 4 fire department. The bid by A. Guzzo Construction, of Ford City, was $92,854. The second bid from Blair Construction, of Parker, was $57,641.85. Council voted 8-0 to table a decision until October to give the fire department time to discuss details of the project.

• Council voted 8-0 to pay $50,000 on the tax anticipation loan leaving a remaining balance of $200,000 to be paid by the year's end.

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