New Salem voters approve override for pumper truck

Cathy Tyng, accompanied by Bonnie, picks up her ballot from New Salem election workers Lynn Layton and Marilyn Adams on Tuesday.

Cathy Tyng, accompanied by Bonnie, picks up her ballot from New Salem election workers Lynn Layton and Marilyn Adams on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Bonnie waits for Cathy Tyng to cast her vote during New Salem’s election in the Town Hall Annex on Tuesday.

Bonnie waits for Cathy Tyng to cast her vote during New Salem’s election in the Town Hall Annex on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

New Salem residents approved a debt-exclusion override at the polls on Tuesday.

New Salem residents approved a debt-exclusion override at the polls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 08-30-2023 3:26 PM

NEW SALEM — The Fire Department can start making room for a new pumper truck, now that residents approved a debt-exclusion override at the polls on Tuesday.

Residents voted in favor of the measure’s approval at Annual Town Meeting in July, meaning a simple majority through a Proposition 2½ vote at the polls was the final obstacle standing in the way of the Fire Department getting its first pumper truck since 2006. This was the only matter on Tuesday’s ballot and was adopted by an 88-65 vote.

“I’m glad it passed,” Fire Chief Joe Cuneo said. “I’m glad people were very willing to help us.”

Voters in July had given their blessing to a $616,000 appropriation for the truck, with $150,000 to be transferred from the Vehicle Capital Stabilization Account and the remaining $466,000 to be borrowed.

A pumper truck is the first piece of apparatus out the door and consists of a large tank filled with water used to combat fires. Cuneo previously said a new truck comes with a 15- to 25-year life expectancy, whereas the primary response pumper truck that was purchased used in 2006 is 37 years old and in serious need of replacement.

“In the past month it’s broken down three times,” Cuneo said Wednesday afternoon.

He has his sights on a truck at Greenwood Emergency Vehicles in North Attleboro. He said it is a dealership demo and costs less money than a brand-new vehicle. The chief said he and his department’s four officers will meet at the station with a representative of the vendor to hammer out final details and hopefully learn when the truck will be in New Salem’s possession.

Cuneo, who has been chief in New Salem since 2008 and in Wendell since 2014, said he does not yet know what the town will do with its current pumper truck.

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According to Town Clerk Stacy Senflug, 153 of the town’s 840 registered voters visited the polls at 24 South Main St. between 11:45 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday. This constitutes a 18% voter turnout.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.