Department heads in Bradley Beach gave their “wish lists” for new equipment to the governing body at last week’s meeting. The requests for the purchases totals $643,500.
The borough is once again participating in the Monmouth County Improvement Authority, or MCIA, program which is a county wide debt financing program.
First up was Director of Public Works Richard Bianchi who said he needs two pick up trucks and a new switch-and-go vehicle which allows for five different attachments to be installed for various jobs. The vehicle used now is 17 years old.
Bianchi also said he needs a new Polaris Ranger for trash pick up on the beach. The one he has now is in bad repair.
“The salt and sand are eating it away,” he said. “I have an aging fleet, I have 10 vehicles that are over 10 years old, they are rotting from being on the beach.”
Bianchi also said he will need a dump truck. The one now being used by public works is 24 years old and repair parts are no longer available.
John McLaughlin, representing the fire company, said he is in need of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) packs. McLaughlin said the packs only last 20 years and the ones he has now are obsolete.
“I’m making council aware that we have to follow state guidelines,” he said.
Mayor Gary Engelstad asked if the fire department could provide some of the funding for the equipment.
Council Member Harold Cotler said the town provides $100,000.00 to the fire department and the rest of their funding comes from the auxiliary and through fund raising efforts.
“These hard working volunteers, they need to have the appropriate equipment,” he said.
First Aid Captain John Zech requested a Gator, off road rescue vehicle, from the town.
He explained that over the Memorial Day weekend first aiders carried nine people off the beach.
“It’s very labor intensive to carry them off the beach. This is a very festive town,” he said.
Following the suggestion that pick up trucks could be used to carry patients from the beach, Zech said that is not an option because it could cause injury to some patients.
“A person with a back injury would be bouncing around, they would not be secure,” he said.
Zech said a new Gator would last about 15 years. He also said the first aid squad funds all go toward patient care.
“We answered over 600 calls last year. Now comes our busiest season,” he said.
There was also some discussion among officials about transferring vehicles between departments where they may be put to better use.
Code Enforcement Officer Bryant Curry said he would give his large pick up truck to public works in a trade for a smaller vehicle, which he said would be easier for him to park in certain areas of town.
Police Chief Leonard Guida said he has several vehicles with over 90,000 miles that could possibly be used by other departments.
Resident Julia Rand said during public comments, “We save a lot of money by having volunteers; fire and first aid. Because they are volunteers they should have the best equipment, they get no salaries from the borough, they should come first.”
Mayor Gary Engelstad asked for the vote on the equipment to be postponed until the next meeting to give the governing body more time to decide which purchases to make.
“We will continue to scrub this list and decide at the next meeting. It (the total dollar amount) has to come down,” he said.