Money for Royalston FD vehicle likely to be in state budget

  • Royalston's Selectboard discussing an earmark in the state budget to fund a new pickup for the town's Fire Department. Left to right: Vice Chair Chris Long, Chair Deb D'Amico, Clerk Rick Martin. For the Athol Daily News/Greg Vine

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 5/25/2022 10:59:42 AM
Modified: 5/25/2022 10:59:43 AM

ROYALSTON — Fire Chief Eric Jack told Royalston’s Selectboard at its meeting on Tuesday, May 17, that it appears money for a new pickup truck for the fire department will be included in the state budget for FY23.

In early April, the board voted to ask the town’s legislators to include a $60,000 earmark in the state budget for a new pickup for the department. At the time, board Chair Deb D’Amico explained that Jack wanted to purchase a pickup truck that could be used to tow the department trailer that responds to lost and/or injured hikers and for use in connection with department’s role in the regional Large Animal Rescue team. The vehicle could also be used for transportation for firefighters traveling to the Massachusetts Fire Academy in Stow for training and certification.

“I had a preliminary discussion with (state Rep.) Susannah Whipps,” said Jack. “It looks like that earmark is going to be approved. So, it looks like we’re going to get the $60,000 for the pickup truck for the Fire Department.”

“I don’t think we’ve dealt with the $3,500 you wanted us to put on the town meeting warrant to outfit that truck,” said D’Amico.

“Right now,” Jack replied, “there’s a little uncertainty on costs because vehicles are crazy right now. I did just get a quote. It may be in that ballpark. I may need a few dollars, but with the budgeting restored I can probably take that out of expenses. So, I don’t necessarily think I need that $3,500.

“It’s looking like I’m probably going to go with a Chevy because Fords are about a year out, from what I was told. So, I think I can make that $60,000 work. We only need a 1,500; I don’t need a three-quarter ton to pull that trailer.”

Jack added that the $60,000 might be just enough for the purchase.

“It might be a few thousand short,” he said, “but I can find that in new equipment in the budget. Actually, I have $2,000 in donation money that I could put toward it. We’ll figure that out.

“So, the $3,500 we were going to use if the police car went over to the Fire Department – that, we don’t need.”

Board member Rick Martin noted in early April that the police department may seek a new vehicle, with the intention of transferring the PD’s old vehicle to the Fire Department to be repurposed. However, the new police vehicle likely won’t be purchased until FY24. In any event, the police department’s old vehicle wouldn’t be big enough to haul the trailer.

In response to a question from resident Larry Siegel, Jack explained, “This is an earmark that we requested through the Legislature. So, there’s not matching funds (from the town). It’s just money from the state budget that comes to Royalston.”

“Is it a done deal?” asked Siegel.

“It’s not yet,” Jack responded, “but I had a call from Susannah Whipps that it’s very likely to happen. You never know with the state, but …”

Greg Vine can be reached at

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