Flare up between county, fire department

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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A dispute between Cumberland County and one of its fire departments is heating up, but the county is refusing to say what its going to do about it.

At issue is a new fire pumper purchased for the Westchester Fire Department by the county in April 2006.

A dispute between Cumberland County and one of its fire departments is heating up, but the county is refusing to say what its going to do about it.

At issue is a new fire pumper purchased for the Westchester Fire Department by the county in April 2006. The county has asked the fire department for $50,000 to help pay for it, but the fire department is refusing.

The Westchester Fire Department is in no financial position to send the Municipality of Cumberland County any money from our reserve funds, assistant deputy chief and secretary Greg Bushen said in a letter to the municipality. We are a volunteer department and are on call for our community.

The county discussed the matter in a closed door session earlier Wednesday and agreed during its open session later in the day to send the letter, but refused to tell reporters what its response is, saying it wont comment on the matter until after the fire department receives its reply in writing.

All we agreed to do in the open council session was to send the letter. We didnt discuss what the letter would contain, Warden Keith Hunter said. When we tell them, well let you know.

In an interview later, Bushen said the department is talking to the county in an attempt to resolve the matter and said the dispute centres around a proposal the department sent to the county several years ago offering to cost-share the cost of a new pumper.

All the departments arent on equal footing. Some of the departments got trucks without paying anything for them and some got trucks paying very little for them, he said. We asked them in 2004 to cost-share a truck with us and they shelved that proposal. Now theyre coming back and showing us that proposal saying we had that money then and they want it now. In the meantime they wouldnt talk with us.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Westchester Fire Department

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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