The William Cameron Engine Company appears to have achieved a solid start with the newly created Central Susquehanna Fire and Emergency Services Board, a municipal-based body structured to provide financial oversight and operational perspectives.

The fire company in Lewisburg had a profitable year in 2019 and now looks ahead to major equipment purchases in the years ahead.

The new administrative board, finalized at the end of 2019, includes one member each from Lewisburg borough, East Buffalo and Kelly townships, providing a platform for discussion and review of each new — and often expensive — step as the fire department evolves into the future.

William Cameron Deputy Chief Stephen Bolinsky told board members last week that the department anticipates financing at least two new ambulances as soon as 2025 at an estimated cost of $275,000 along with a combination pumper-tanker fire engine, perhaps in 2023, at an estimated cost of $650,000.

The pumper-tanker is a combination vehicle that would replace the company’s current separate tanker and engine, which are both nearly 30 years old. Bolinsky also raised the idea of a feasibility study for the existing fire station at Fifth Street and Buffalo Road.

William Cameron ended 2019 under budget with a profit of $15,356, but begins 2020 with a projected deficit in its spending plan, according to figures presented at the meeting.

The board selected Mike Derman of Lewisburg to serve as the board chairman and Matt Schumacher of East Buffalo Township as vice chairman. Deb Catherman, who has served as William Cameron’s secretary, will fill the same role on the new board.

With the exception of Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month in 2020.

It obviously remains to be seen, but as it takes shape early this year, it appears that this oversight board is built to provide an extra measure of perspective, stability and transparency into the operations of a vital, life-saving agency.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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