New Ipswich: Fire recount stands

  • New Ipswich town officials conducted an official election recount on Warrant Article 14 Tuesday night, March 28, 2017. Here, David Lage and Robert Romeril open the sealed ballots. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • New Ipswich town officials conducted an official election recount on Warrant Article 14 Tuesday night, March 28, 2017. The selectmen are Jay Hopkins, Tim Johnson and David Lage. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • New Ipswich town officials conducted an official election recount on Warrant Article 14 Tuesday night, March 28, 2017. Here, David Lage cuts open a box of sealed ballots. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/30/2017 6:31:23 AM

The petition to fund the purchase of a new pumper engine for the New Ipswich Fire Department pulled two votes closer after a recount, but still failed.

The recount was conducted Tuesday night, March 28, after the weekly Board of Selectmen’s meeting at the town office. Now, the department has to wait and try to gain more support for the future.

“We’re just going to try to get the word out, see where we missed and get the word out on the importance of a new truck, for safety since we have a 30 year old truck,” Meredith Lund, chief of the fire department said on the phone Wednesday.

The original vote from the March 16 election went against funding the purchase by a vote of 426 to 407, with 16 ballots left blank, a difference of 19 votes. After the recount, the vote was still against, but this time by only 17 votes. One of the no-votes was flipped, and the final tally became 425 to 408, still 16 blank.

The recount board was made up of the three selectmen – David Lage, Tim Johnson and Jay Hopkins – and Town Moderator Bob Romeril and Town Clerk Jessica Olson. It was open to the public.

The department was hoping to get up to $475,000 to replace one of its current pumper engines. That engine, according to Selectman Tim Johnson, who spoke about it at the March 28 meeting, it is not up to National Fire Protection Association Code, and the pump needs to be replaced, which he said might cost up to $75,000. He called it insufficient, and noted the the pump on the department’s newer truck had to be repaired recently. Because of not meeting riding codes, it can only transport two firefighters at a time.

“The other issue beside being 30 years old is the pump,” he said. “It’s not a reliable pump.”

Lund said she previously applied for a grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, and will hear back this summer, likely in August. The grant status remaining in question is why the warrant asked for up to $475,000. Taxpayers would have provided the difference between the total cost and the grant.

Once the grant application is returned, Lund said the department will figure out how to move forward, and hope to sway more voters in the future.

“It’s important because it plays into ISO (insurance service office) ratings for insurance, and it plays into how we can handle a big fire in town or in mutual aid,” she said. “Until then, We’re going to do the best we can.”


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