Portsmouth Town Council Notes

Portsmouth council approves purchase of $400K fire rescue boat

Funds are included in current municipal budget

By Jim McGaw
Posted 8/13/19

PORTSMOUTH — The Fire Department is getting a spanking new rescue boat. 

On Tuesday, the Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of a 31-foot 2019 Almar fire rescue boat …

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Portsmouth Town Council Notes

Portsmouth council approves purchase of $400K fire rescue boat

Funds are included in current municipal budget

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — The Fire Department is getting a spanking new rescue boat. 

On Tuesday, the Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of a 31-foot 2019 Almar fire rescue boat manufactured by North River Boats at the quoted price of $399,168. Town Administrator Richard Rainer, Jr. recommended the purchase.

The money will come from the current fiscal year budget, which included $450,000 in capital improvement funds for the purchase, said Fire Chief Paul Ford. The remainder of the funding will be used for equipment, including radios, as well as training for all department members, he said.

“The boat will take at least six months to be built. We won’t get it back until spring (of 2020),” Chief Ford said.

The new boat will have “very limited” firefighting capability, the chief acknowledged. The vessel will be equipped with a 350 gallon-per-minute portable pump, he said.

“It’s not a big firefighting fire boat,” Chief Ford said.

However, he said the boat will greatly improve the fire department’s response time to various emergencies on local waters. “Just yesterday there was a medical emergency on a boat on the west side of Prudence. We were third on the scene, and that’s completely due” to the type of boat the department has now, he said.

Local resident Jerry Ims, a former police harbormaster, questioned the need for the fire boat, since the police department already has two vessels that also respond to water emergencies. He also said other nearby municipalities and agencies are quick to offer mutual aid in the event of marine rescues in local waters.

Celico appointed harbormaster

In other business Tuesday night, Patrol Officer Bruce J. Celico, Jr. was unanimously appointed to be the town’s new harbormaster on the recommendation of Police Chief Brian Peters.

He succeeds Sgt. Stephen Burns, who retired from the position at the beginning of July.

Officer Celico joined the Portsmouth Police force in 2015, having previously served with the Westerly Police Department. He was Portsmouth’s acting harbormaster the summer of 2017, and has been a marine patrol officer for both the Portsmouth and Westerly police departments.

Moving Wall

Council members unanimously approved a proclamation calling upon all residents to thank Vietnam-era veterans “for their patriotism and courage in foreign service to their country.”

The proclamation comes a month before the Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., comes to Touro Park in Newport from Sept. 19-23. There will also be a program of events and ceremonies to honor Vietnam veterans.

Eighteen residents of Newport County, including four from Portsmouth, died in the war.

Resignations/appointments

The council accepted with regret the resignations of Regina Shers from the Portsmouth Canvassing Authority, and Michael James from the Planning Board. 

The council voted to re-appoint Frederick Marano to the Economic Development Committee. 

Future meetings

The council’s next two regular Monday meetings will be held on Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The council will make its annual excursion to Prudence Island for a noon meeting on Saturday, Sept. 14. As in past years, the meeting will focus mainly on island-related issues.

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