26 January 1983
Borough asks Collins to buy a minipumper
by Ron Bartlett
Princeton Borough officials have officially suggested to the Collins Development Corp. that it assist the municipality in purchasing an expensive piece of firefighting equipment this year.
The suggestion, which has been received in lukewarm fashion by Collins, is to obtain a $47,100 van-like vehicle known to firefighters as a “mini- pumper.” Several local officials believe the equipment is essential in providing fire protection to portions of the proposed Palmer Square expansion.
On Tuesday Councilman Richard Woodbridge said a letter was “going out today” to the developer asking him to make a “substantial contribution” to the purchase of the minipumper.
“None of our present equipment could fit into the Chambers Street or Hulfish garages Collins is proposing — the headroom in both garages is too low,” Mr. Woodbridge, the fire commissioner said. “The letter is in recognition of the distinct possibility that the Collins projects will be built this year.”
The purchase of the minipumper was originally slated for 1984 in the municipality’s capital budget program, but was moved up to 1983 when Collins returned before the Princeton Regional Planning Board with a revised master plan for the square.
Mr. Woodbridge said local officials would like to know what Collins plans to do with the recommendation, since the 1983 municipal budget process began last week and must be finalized by Feb. 17.
“Off the top of my head. I’d like to sec them make a one-third contribution — that’s my personal feeling,” the councilman added. He called Collins “the largest identifiable beneficiary of this piece of equipment.”
James Harvie, the vice president of Collins Development, said Tuesday that he had not seen the letter from the municipality, but he termed the proposal “both fair and unfair.”
“I’m still paying for the court reporters costs, and (municipal planner) Paul Semanski’s bill,” Mr. Harvie said, in reference to the recent hearings before the planning board. “One begins to get used to this stuff in Princeton.”
Mr. Harvie said he will have to examine the letter before making a final decision on a contribution. But in describing the situation, he offered, “if the police need an extra patrol car, they don’t go running around looking for who’s going to need it.”
He also noted that Collins, like other community residents and businesses, is already paying its share of taxes to the municipality.
Mr. Woodbridge said the Board of Engineers studied the minipumper specifications prior to coming up with its estimated cost. In contrast, he said the equipment, which resembles “an oversized van” is much less expensive then the $120,000 full-sized pumper obtained by Engine Company No. 3 last month.
The councilman said the minipumper could also be used in remote portions of the township, on narrow avenues like Bank Street, and for small emergencies like car fires.