On March 15, voters in the town of Whitefield will be asked if they want to spend more than $250,000 on a new firetruck.

In the past decade, the volume of demands on the Whitefield Fire Department has remained relatively stable. That is, we are experiencing about the same number of “call outs” as we did in 2003. About a third of those calls do not involve fires, but rather automobile accidents, trees and wires down, etc. Fire-related calls — structure, chimney, grass/woods and vehicle fires — actually have diminished slightly during that period.

While the demands on the department for the last decade have remained static, expenditures have soared. In 2003, the town spent $65,757 for fire and rescue services. In 2013, that figure had jumped to $138,628, an increase of more than 100 percent. In 2005, we acquired a pumper/tanker; in 2010, another pumper/tanker, and a new firehouse.

We have expended more than a million dollars on equipment and infrastructure over the last 10 years, and yet we are still in a Class 9 of the Insurance Services Office’s fire protection classification. This means that our residents have gotten absolutely no benefit by way of a reduction in their homeowner insurance premiums. Promises we have received; benefits we have not.

I encourage all Whitefield voters to attend the town meeting on March 15. I hope they will join me in voting against the purchase of the truck and help to restore some fiscal sanity to our fire department budget.

Lore H. Ford IIIWhitefield

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