Two boards discuss buying incident command vehicle
Commissioners, supervisors, staff and solicitors from South Whitehall and Upper Macungie townships met recently at the new Cetronia Ambulance Corps building, 4300 Broadway, South Whitehall.
Their intent was to continue a discussion on the feasibility of acquiring an incident command vehicle for use by both townships.
Chaired by South Whitehall Commissioners President Christina "Tori" Morgan, the discussion centered on the cost of purchasing a new vehicle and the need to provide mutual aid in the event of a mass casualty in other Lehigh County municipalities.
Upper Macungie Supervisors' Chairman Jim Brunell said he was concerned with the cost of the project, and although Upper Macungie has money budgeted, it is not separated from the capital budget.
South Whitehall Commissioner Glenn Block also expressed his reservations, as neither township had a specific budget entry for the vehicle.
There is a $30,000 grant available from Lehigh County to help fund such purchases, but it does not refer to a specific project or purpose.
According to Brunell, this money could be used for anything from a dump truck to a paver.
"Can we pull it off?" Morgan asked.
She said the vehicle is conceptually a good idea, but would defer to the choice of committee members.
Upper Macungie Supervisor Kathy Rader wondered about other communities becoming involved.
"Would other communities consider joining in to get a county incident command vehicle?" Rader asked.
Morgan agreed going to Lehigh County would be the best path.
South Whitehall EMA Director Jeff Kelly said South Whitehall and Upper Macungie "would lose control with a countywide vehicle."
South Whitehall Commissioner David Bond explained the rig would "need certified drivers."
Caitlin Stibitz of Cetronia Ambulance Corps said the ambulance corps would provide certified drivers as the unit would be housed at its 4300 Broadway facility.
In addition, Kelly and Upper Macungie Fire Commissioner Grant Grim said they have certified and trained staff to operate the equipment in the event of a large-scale disaster.
Morgan gave special thanks to Kelly and Grim for their work researching the most efficient configuration for an incident command vehicle.
At a projected cost in excess of $300,000, agreement was reached to approach Lehigh County EMA Director Scott Lindenmuth with a request of support for a county-provided vehicle.
All commissioners present appeared in agreement.