The key point of the talks has been the reaffirmation of the Hermitage’s promise to donate a lump sum toward the purchase of a new fire apparatus for the town. A new truck will be needed to cover a planned five-story hotel, as well as the base lodge, slated for a November 1 grand opening. The Hermitage agreed to honor an eight-year-old commitment by previous owners of Haystack, and the town is currently trying to update the financial commitment to today’s costs and standards.
The original agreement, made on December 31, 2005, included a donation of $250,000 by the former owners of Haystack to the town for the new fire apparatus. According to town manager Scott Murphy, the new donation number is not official yet, but has moved closer to $300,000. Whatever the final number, the Hermitage will be allowed to pay the amount in two installments over two years. The type of apparatus the fire department will need has not been nailed down yet, and a specific item will not be placed in the agreement.
Murphy said the purchase of the new apparatus would likely come within two years, and while a portion of the equipment cost will be picked up by the taxpayers, Murphy said a new apparatus would benefit the entire town, and provide an even more effective firefighting arsenal. “It was never our intent for the owners of Haystack to cover 100% of the costs,” said Murphy. “This apparatus can be used in the downtown and will probably be housed in the downtown area.”
With the town currently looking at options for moving the fire department out of the flood zone, Murphy said there are details that still need to be ironed out before the town selects a new piece of equipment. “We have time to work toward getting out of the flood zone and building a new building with a fifth bay that could hopefully house this piece of equipment. Those are all concerns, but this is one step toward full, adequate coverage for the downtown and the Hermitage.”
Other issues the parties addressed included additional annual training for the fire department in combating four-to-five-story fires, which the town would also like the Hermitage to pay for.
The fire department would also like to see an increase in the amount of water stored on-site at Haystack. There is a 425-gallon tank currently located at the resort.