Eight sometimes-agonizing months after Freedom residents voted to buy a pumper tanker for the volunteer fire department, the town has a truck.

How good that is depends upon whom you ask, though parties on both sides of the issue that has consumed much of the past year seem, at the very least, happy that the debate is over.

Residents first approved spending $250,000 to buy a new fire truck in March, but some who were unhappy with the large purchase petitioned for a revote, which was held at a special town meeting. The second vote, in which the original purchase was ratified by a one-vote margin, was challenged with a second petition, leading to a referendum in which the purchase was soundly defeated 164-94.

Selectmen subsequently convened a committee comprising two firefighters, three citizens and a selectman to research cheaper alternatives. The group settled on a 2002 Sterling truck on a Ford chassis, costing $115,000.

The truck, bought from the Genesee Falls Fire Company of Portageville, N.Y., is older than the fire department wanted, but newer than what was first believed to be available on the used market. It holds much less water than Fire Chief James Waterman wanted, there was no warranty and the truck’s pump was found to have some problems that have kept it temporarily out of service.

It also cost the town $135,000 less than a new truck would have.

Factoring in all these pieces, the truck, and the way it was bought, has received generally positive reviews from players on both side of the fire truck debate. Beyond a basic consensus, however, opinions diverge. On one hand, the purchase is seen as an acceptable compromise; on the other, a major success.

“It just goes to show what the democratic process will do,” said Nancy Bailey Farrar, who led the petition drive to repeal the original town meeting vote. “We were adamant that we could find something, and we did. And it turned out positive for everybody.”

Bailey Farrar, who serves on the town’s budget committee, said she saw red flags in the initial proposal from the fire department, which would have entailed entering a private lease agreement at a high interest rate for a portion of the cost, in part because the town was not up to date on its audits, since completed.

From a fiscal perspective, getting a used truck — though it meant bringing the issue before voters on four occasions — was the right thing to do, she said.

“I want this to be recognized as a citizen initiative because that’s what it was,” she said. “There were a couple of us citizens who actually pushed for this outcome because we thought it was in the best interest of the town.”

Waterman was less enthusiastic about the outcome, but diplomatic.

“I was looking for a truck that had 2,500 gallons of water,” said the fire chief, speaking on Nov. 22. “The committee made some concession and now we have 1,500 gallons of water, which gives me about 16 minutes of firefighting time before mutual aid arrives. And that’s with water; ready to supply me with water. That’s not a whole lot of time but I think that’s something we can work with.”

Waterman was quick to point out the flaws in the deal — the absence of a warranty and the damaged pump, which he said would cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to fix — but said the process of finding the truck through the committee “worked.”

“It will be a good addition to the Freedom Fire Department and we will work with it and train with it and be ready to respond when needed both for the town of Freedom and the surrounding areas,” he said.

Asked if he thought the months of negotiations we’re worth it, Waterman paused for a moment.

“I spent four years looking for a fire truck and they bought this as-is,” he said. “I would have like to have had a warranty. I would have liked to have not had to repair it to put it back in service, but if this is what the town has picked, this is what the fire department and the members of the fire department will work with.”