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A need to raise money for firetrucks, radios identified

For over half an hour, the supervisors of Upper Milford discussed different options to try and meet the needs of both fire stations during the March 21 meeting.

The previous evening, the supervisors met with representatives of both Citizens Fire Company of Upper Milford Township and Western District Fire Company at a joint meeting with emergency services.

Chair John Zgura said the board now had an idea of what is needed.

“We now have to figure out ways on how we are going to raise money to buy one firetruck now, one firetruck in two years, radios,” he explained.

Supervisor Daniel Mohr was quite clear in his opposition to a fire tax.

Supervisor Angela Ashbrook raised the financial risks the township is taking by helping the fire companies, stating, “We should have some sort of lien or something in place if we are paying for things. We should have some, not necessarily ownership, but some residual value to it if something were to happen to the fire companies.”

There was also a discussion about raising the property taxes of the township. Some residents and the board made a distinction on how the property taxes are low, but the East Penn School District taxes are high.

Zgura proposed joining both fire stations, an idea met with concern on how quickly firefighters would be able to get to certain areas of the township. Resident Joe Sherman, who spent years with Citizens Fire Company of Upper Milford, told the board, “One thing I want you to think about is what is the cost of a human life? That is the most important if you are going to be down to one station.” Sherman pointed out one station could lead to a truck not reaching certain areas in the township for at least 16 minutes, a crucial timeline in an emergency.

Zgura reassured Sherman and everyone present safety for everyone is the priority.

The board will revisit ideas at the next meeting. A discussion on pension plans for township employees will also be discussed and voted on at that time.

The supervisors approved a request from The Seed Farm Manager David Sell to have Vera Cruz Special Fire Police to help with safety and flow of traffic at The Seed Farm 10th anniversary spring sale. The event will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 11 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 12.

Emmaus Public Library is preparing its summer reading club which usually involves around 1,000 residents.

The meeting ended with Mohr confirming the Vera Cruz Association has a stage for homecoming festivities in August. The stage is being donated by Northampton County and he thanked everyone for their help and support.