At the last Saco City Council meeting, councilors again brought to the agenda the much-controversial fire boat. It was voted to buy this boat at the cost of $108,000. After insurance received on the last boat that sunk, and the Waterfront Commission’s donation toward the new boat, the price came down to around $85,000.

This price does not include the personnel to man the boat and the operational costs ”“ gas, insurance, etc.

Although it was a little lower than the last quote, it is still a substantial cost to Saco. Councilors Precourt, Brunswick and Tardiff opposed this purchase. The others did not want to wait until Biddeford was ready to sign on to share in the cost of a boat. Mayor Pilon had been in contact with our congressional delegation to find us a surplus boat rather than purchase a new one.

Saco Citizens for Sensible Taxes will be recommending that city council insist on taking the purchase price of the boat out of the fire department’s budget, even if it means laying off a few of their management staff and cutting back on their overtime costs.

Also, at that meeting, a recommendation was put on the table for the next meeting to hold hearings on charging $100 for permits for parking on the pier and the areas around Camp Ellis. The SCST has taken a stand against this recommendation and will be testifying against this fee because it will drive away tourists and will create a hardship for the residents in that area. Those who oppose that fee are urged to turn out for the hearing at the next city council meeting.

-Ron Zehner, vice chairman, Saco Citizens for Sensible Taxes