The city of West Haven’s West Shore Fire District brandished a brand new fire truck Monday, thanks — in part — to Yale.
The University gave $150,000 toward the purchase of a technologically improved fire truck. The gift is indicative of Yale’s growing involvement with the city since the purchase of West Campus from Bayer Healthcare just over a year ago.
The gift supplements the $600,000 in voluntary payments that Yale has been making to West Haven since the University’s West Campus was purchased. The contribution came out of frequent talks between West Haven Mayor John Picard and officials from Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs about financial matters, Picard said.
“Yale realized that there was a need there,” Picard said.
Chief David Collins said the new truck — “Quint 33” — which has both a 77-foot LED-lit ladder and the ability to pump water, will replace the district’s old trucks that did not comply with federal safety regulations.
“For years we’ve had much older equipment,” he said. “[The firefighters] will be safer and be able to do their jobs more efficiently.”
Having an up-to-date truck also cuts down on costs for the district, which last year spent $30,000 for maintenance of their old equipment. Collins said Yale’s contribution to the $700,000 truck was so appreciated partly because the district’s budget has been greatly reduced due to pension obligations and a smaller tax base.
“The money from Yale was definitely well-received,” Collins said.
Since Yale is a nonprofit organization, its purchase of the land for West Campus eliminated a portion of the city’s revenue from property taxes, said Collins. To offset those losses, Yale is making voluntary payments of $250 per employee or $600,000 — whichever is larger — to both West Haven and Orange, since the property straddles the city line. Picard said West Haven benefits from Yale’s presence in the city.
Collins said it will be two to three weeks until the new fire truck is in action. He added that the firefighters were excited to begin using the equipment.
“I would really like to thank Yale again for their generous donation,” he said.
Since Yale’s purchase of the property, there have been no fires on West Campus.