April 14, 2011
City awards bid for $474,000 fire engine
FEMA grant will pay for about half the cost; city unsure how it will pay for remainder
The city Common Council voted 7-0 Wednesday to officially award a bid for a new $474,000 fire truck.
Alderman Dan Quail (R-5th Ward) was not at the special meeting.
The city’s cost for the new truck will be offset by a $275,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Built by Rosenbauer, the truck will have a stainless steel chassis, carry six firefighters and have the capacity to pump up to 2,000 gallons of water per minute.
The city must match 5 percent of the grant, about $14,000, as well as the rest of the cost for the truck — about $213,000 above the base bid.
The fire department proposed a spending cap of up to $500,000 for the truck, in case there is anything that needs to be changed during the manufacturing process. If it spends up to the cap, the city could pay up to $239,000.
Assistant Cortland Fire Chief Wayne Friedman said incentives for early payment or other cost savings could bring the total cost as low as $457,000.
Friedman said one of the cost savings — about $44,000 worth — was the type of cab chosen, which is smaller but still meets the fire department’s needs.
The truck will have a 1,000-gallon water tank, to supply water before a second engine arrives at a fire scene, rescue style compartments, which allows for additional equipment, and a configuration for additional hoses.
The Rosenbauer model came in about $50,000 under the only other bid, which was from 4 Guys Fire in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Rosenbauer is based in Lyons, S.D. The bids came in during March, after a couple of months spent formulating specifications, which were complicated due to the size limitations of the Court Street station.
Friedman said although he did not want to pressure the council, it was imperative to award the bid as soon as possible and to get the process moving on the new truck. The city has until Dec. 20 to have the truck built as a part of its review for accepting the grant, and it takes about 250 days to build the truck.
The council did not discuss how to pay for the new engine.
“This part is easy, finding the money is going to be hard,” Alderman Ken Dye (D-3rd Ward) said after the vote. Over a dozen volunteer, professional and retired firefighters attended the meeting.
Mayor Susan Feiszli said some the FEMA grant money could be used for the down payment, giving city officials time to figure out whether to bond for the money or first acquire a bond anticipation note.
Fire Chief Chuck Glover said the money could be used for prepayment on the truck’s chassis.
The city must come up with the rest of the money when the truck is completed.
This is the third new fire truck for Cortland in the past year. The city’s newest engine was built in 2010, and a ladder truck approved last August is still being built to replace a model that was made in 1980.
The new engine will replace a 1980 open cab pumper. The city cannot sell the old truck to another fire company, since one of the conditions for the FEMA grant is that the engine being replaced must be retired permanently from fire service.
Friedman said the city has invested about $416,000 in the past two trucks, which would have cost the city about $1.5 million to build without grant funding.
In a slide show presentation, Friedman gave an overview of the city’s current fire equipment, details about the new fire truck, the process to obtain the grant and why the city should have a custom truck instead of one that is commercially built and modified for firefighting.
He estimated that although a commercial truck would cost $208,000, it would likely need to be replaced in five to seven years.
Another one of the challenges is the weight, height and length limitations of the fire station on Court Street.
“I don’t think it’s the most prudent use of taxpayer money,” Glover said, adding that custom trucks are built to last much longer than their commercial counterparts.
“We don’t anticipate we will have to come back anytime soon,” he said.
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