Board denies Smart Board purchase, cites budgeting issues

Published on: 6/18/2013

Germantown — The Germantown Fire Department's desire to create an interactive classroom for weekly training was put on hold Monday after village officials denied the purchase of a Smart Board, citing budgeting issues.

There was $8,000 allocated for the purchase of a Forcible Entry Trainer for the Fire Department in the 2013 budget. The Fire Department asked that in place of the Forcible Entry Trainer, they instead purchase a Smart Board for the Fire Station No. 2 training room. The Forcible Entry Trainer teaches fire fighters to break into a structure in the event of a fire.

The Fire Department hosts weekly trainings using a white board, video screen and projector, according to village documents. The Smart Board would replace this to create an interactive classroom, as well as be utilized for public education during events and classes and help with day-to-day functions.

The Smart Board costs $9,052 and the difference would be covered by Act 102 funds, according to village documents. In a 4-4 vote, the request was denied.

Trustee Art Zabel said it comes down to the budget where they planned for a Forcible Entry Trainer, not a Smart Board and it should stay that way. Trustee Melvin Ewert, who voted for the Smart Board purchase, said if the Fire Department is in need of a Smart Board and the funds are available, they should approve the item if it better serves the community.

Trustee Shane Daniels, who also voted to approve the proposal, said during the budgeting process the Fire Department was put on the spot and asked to rank five items in order of importance so the board could move forward with the budgeting process. Though the Forcible Entry Trainer was budgeted for, things have changed.

"I think they know best how to spend their money," Daniels said. "I support them."

Village Board President Dean Wolter said they need to address staffing issues at the Fire Department before allocating funds to items not in the budget. For that reason, he said, he voted against the Smart Board proposal.