Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Derry Township Officials Work to Reopen Fire Company

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Derry Township Officials Work to Reopen Fire Company

Article excerpt

The solicitor for Derry Township and the attorney for the Eastern Derry Township Fire Department were scheduled to meet this week in an effort to reopen the shuttered fire department.

The Eastern Derry department closed in late July because it no longer had insurance for its vehicles. Fire department officials said they expected an annual donation from the township that would have paid for the insurance.

The Bradenville Fire Department in the township and the Blairsville Fire Department are covering fire calls for the department.

An unusually large debt for a recently purchased ladder truck was the red flag that caused supervisors to delay the annual donation.

John Rushford, township solicitor, said, "We will meet with them to see if they can reorganize or restructure their debt, which would give the township the comfort level that they will continue to be in existence."

Both township fire departments were scheduled to receive annual donations of $30,000 this year from supervisors.

Mr. Rushford said an audit this summer, however, showed that Eastern Derry had an "extraordinary debt" on a recently purchased firetruck.

"These trucks are very expensive; they can cost $200,000 to $300,000," he said, "plus they have a mortgage on their building."

Mr. Rushford said there was no issue of missing money, but the township was concerned about the large debt.

Township supervisors decided earlier this year to require an audit from its fire departments.

"The audits were due in June, and the first audit [from Eastern Derry] was woefully inadequate," Mr. Rushford said. "Then we had the township auditor get together with them to offer assistance, and it was the third revision in mid-July that caused the concerns over the extraordinary debt. …

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