Township of DuBois/Sandy. consolidation: more details reveal what the new fire department will look like | News
DuBOIS — The number of fire stations and their location is one of four assignments that must be completed soon by the fire subcommittee to prepare for the consolidation of the town of DuBois and the township of Sandy.
At the last meeting of the nine-member DuBois/Sandy Consolidation Committee held earlier this month, fire subcommittee chairman John “Herm” Suplizio, who is also the city manager , said subcommittee members met with the nine volunteer fire companies between the city and township. The majority of members of both fire departments believe that nine fire companies are not necessary to serve and protect the newly consolidated city.
The cost of operating nine fire stations in today’s society is becoming increasingly difficult economically, according to a March 8 memorandum from the fire subcommittee to the nine-person Consolidation Committee.
The fire subcommittee strongly believes the new city can effectively operate out of five fire stations, Suplizio said.
He said that starting today, these stations would be located at:
- Route 255, as close to the entrance gate to Treasure Lake as possible
- first street
- Main Street
- Dixon Avenue
- Maple Avenue
Suplizio noted that in going from nine stations to five stations, the new city will combine stations and will need to build at least two and add an addition to an existing fire station for it to work. That being said, Suplizio said the budget could increase before an economy goes from nine to five. But it is still the consensus and recommendation of the fire sub-committee to run the new fire department with five stations.
Following the recommendation of the Fire Sub-Committee and the approval of the nine-member Consolidation Committee, the Joint DuBois/Sandy Township Commission, at its March 21 meeting, approved the Sub-Committee’s first task. fire department, namely the approval that the new City of DuBois Volunteer Fire Department operate as a department with multiple stations.
Another task assigned to the fire subcommittee is to determine equipment and deployment, Suplizio said.
Currently, there are a total of 21 pieces of equipment between the DuBois and Sandy Township Fire Departments. At that time, Suplizio said the fire subcommittee felt the new city needed to reduce the 21 sets to 15, which represents a 29% reduction in fire sets.
Budget and Capital Issues
The subcommittee’s final task includes budget and capital matters, Suplizio said. In general expenses, a budget of $5,000 is budgeted for the salary and benefits of a fire administrator and a fire chief allowance of $10,000. The Fire Administrator position is a support position for the new fire department. This position will assist with grant writing, ISO documents, membership, meeting minutes and other records that need to be kept. The Fire Chief’s Allowance would be a small amount to be given to each fire chief to help cover the costs of their time.
Other items listed under general expenses include: workers’ compensation, $65,000; insurance (building and appliances), $30,000; recruitment/retention, $30,000; training/installation/supplies agent, $20,000; a total of $105,000 for utilities; general vehicle repair, $25,000; general building repairs, $20,000; fire equipment, $25,000; and special rescue team, $10,000. The total overhead amount is $412,000.
In capital expenditure, the buildings include a loan of $5 million – $325,000 per year for 20 years; device, $475,000; Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), $44,000; exit equipment, $44,000. Total capital expenditures amount to $888,000. Total expenditures are $1.3 million.
Under estimated earnings, fundraising is listed at $200,000; municipal tax, $375,000 (city) and $350,000 (township) for a total of $725,000. Of note, the average DuBois grant used for the fire department over the past 20 years is $275,000. The City of DuBois has used several grant programs over the past 20 years to help fund the capital assets of the DuBois Volunteer Fire Department, such as, but not limited to: the Community Development Block Grant, the Department of Community and Economic Development and grants to help firefighters and others. Additionally, the fire department has received assistance through major donations, such as Penn Highlands Healthcare.
Additionally, the following upcoming expenses for 2023 are not included in the budget figures:
- The replacement of the 75 motor and the replacement of the SCBA
- DuBois Ladder Truck replacement reportedly coming in near future
- They understand that in the near future, Treasure Lake and Oklahoma would need a new fire station.
All of these things come into play when considering the future of the fire service and funding, according to information in a memorandum from the fire subcommittee.
One of the most important things the fire subcommittee considered was funding. They understand that taxpayers’ money is limited and that there are many cuts to the current fire service. Combining fire stations and building new ones will drive up the budget before it can stabilize. At this time, the subcommittee is not estimating the amount of grants. If they can secure grant funds, it will help reduce the budget funds needed.
The fire subcommittee has also requested permission to move forward to actively seek grants to help pay for any new construction of new fire stations, additions or appliances.
The tasks assigned to the fire sub-committee must be completed no later than June 1st.
In addition to Suplizio, other members of the fire subcommittee include: Bill Beers, Rob Burgeson, Mike Federici, Joe Mitchell, Tony Roy and Dana Smith.
The next Consolidation Committee meeting will be at noon Wednesday (today) at the DuBois City Building, 16 W. Scribner Ave., DuBois. The meeting is open to the public.
For those in the public who would like to find contact information for committee members and joint council and meeting minutes and agendas, they can visit the Town of DuBois website at https://duboispa.gov/ or the municipality’s website at https://sandytownship.net/.
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