As I See It
Friday, May 21, 2010

Does your $50,000 BMW need $200 in repairs?
If so, do what Chief O'Brien recommends:  Don't fix the car, just buy a new one!

On Monday night, Fire Chief Richard O'Brien came before the Board of Selectmen to request authorization to spend money to repair Engine 1 and Engine 5.  According to O'Brien, repairs on Engine 1 will cost $2,000 and Engine 5 will require replacement of a pump housing at a cost of roughly $20K-$30K.  Selectmen authorized the expenditure.

But what I found most significant was that Chief O'Brien cautioned against fixing Engine 5, saying, "It just doesn’t make much sense to pour that kind of money in a truck that’s basically at the end of its lifespan at this point.”  His solution?  Just buy a new Engine at a cost of over $500,000.

And it gets better.  O'Brien also wants to replace Engine 1.  Yes, that's the one he wanted to replace last year, the one that can be repaired for only $2,000. 

"It’s my recommendation to replace both those trucks next year, basically to eliminate this aging section of the fleet that’s causing us heartache and causing us issues."

Heartaches?  Let's talk about 'heartaches' for a moment, Chief.  

How about the heartache Goffstown taxpayers are suffering right now - and we don't even have our new tax bills yet.  

How about the additional heartache those taxpayers would endure trying to foot the bill for over $1 million worth of fire trucks that can be repaired and kept in service for a combined total of around $30K?

Spending over $500,000 to replace Engine 1 when it can be repaired for $2,000 is like spending $50,000 to replace your BMW when it can be fixed for a couple hundred bucks.  Add to that the cost of replacing Engine 5 as well?  Give me a break.

Only someone with an incredible sense of entitlement who is completely out of touch with what is going on around here could even suggest replacing these two trucks right now.

Not having two shiny new fire trucks may cause Chief O'Brien some 'heartache', but I'm more interested in preventing the heartache such a purchase would cause those of us who would be footing the bill for these new toys.

Find yourself another cure for your 'heartache', Chief.  Fix the trucks you already have for a fraction of the cost of replacing them, then spend the rest of your time looking for ways to reduce spending and streamline operations.  It may not cure what's ailing you, but it sure as hell will go a long way towards curing what's ailing Goffstown taxpayers:  Wasteful and unnecessary spending of our money.



Fire Chief now wants two new engines

Guy Caron can be reached via e-mail at:

Past Columns by Guy Caron  >>>


DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the Goffstown Residents Association or its members.

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