SPRINGFIELD, NJ - in a presentation before the Springfield Township Committee, fire chief Carlo Palumbo clarified more information surrounding the proposed purchase of a new engine for the fire department.

As Palumbo noted when he spoke with TAPinto before the eeting, Engine 3, which is due for replacement was actually not put out on the road in 2003 as previously reported, but rather in 2001.

By the time its replacement engine is ready, the current one will have had 21 years of use by the department.

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"We've been building up to this for the last couple of years, kind of laying out the groundwork that it's gonna come to its age where it needs to be replaced," Palumbo said. "So we did bank some money over the last couple of years, and then I believe the township budgeted $594,000 for it. It's time [to replace it]."

He explained that as technology advances, older trucks can not keep up with the demands of the job. Seals can break, electronic components can burn out, and eventually the engine becomes prohibitively expensive to keep replacing, more so than the outright purchasing cost for a new engine.

"It's not like you're starting a car and driving it down the street," Palumbo added." There's hard hours on that truck. And it's not just driving. There's pumping, seals, electronics. It's out when the weather is bad...when something's going on, we're the ones outside. So it's an investment to protect the town, the citizens."

As Palumbo noted, while the cost does look like a big expenditure from the outside, the knowledge that were Engine 3 has been running for 21 years is all the more reason to keep the department upgraded with proper vehicles and equipment. And that amortized over that 21-year period, the cost per year of the new truck would average out to roughly $37,000 per year.

Buying the new engine through cooperative purchasing programs will also help to put a dent in the cost. Springfield uses Sourcewell and HGAC to get the best price on municipal expenditures, and as Palumbo noted, prepaying through these agreements should save Springfield somewhere between $8,000 and $20,000.

During his presentation before the township committee, Palumbo also noted that several other nearby municipalities, including Berkeley Heights and Union have run through the payment plan, to their overall advantage.

For Springfield Deputy Mayor Chris Capodice, Palumbo's presentation before the township committee was well-received.

"I think the chief did an excellent job of explaining the rationale for the new fire truck," Capodice said. "Unfortunately we had an article that came out after our last meeting for the first reading that had some gross misinformation that we had to do our best to correct."

It was to that end that the chief came in to correct the record, and explain the rationale behind the purchase, which Capodice said went well in his estimation.

The purchase of the new fire engine is the centerpiece of a bond ordinance which includes purchasing costs for a new vehicle and equipment for the police department, as well as improvements to public buildings and property and storm water and sanitary sewer pump stations in town.

After the presentation, the bond ordinance was voted on by the township committee, as it was the second reading of the ordinance. Upon second reading of the bond ordinance, the measure was approved unanimously by the township committee.