May 13, 2010


City awarded $712,000 for new fire truck

Staff Reporter

The fire department has received a $712,00 federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to replace a ladder truck built in 1981, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday.
Fire Chief Chuck Glover advised the Common Council a few weeks ago the department was highly likely to receive the grant.
Glover said the grant will allow the department to replace an unsafe piece of equipment at a small cost to taxpayers.
The city's share of the cost will be $37,500, Glover said. He added that he will weigh the cost of ordering a custom-made truck against the purchase of a demonstration model to reduce the cost. The fire department requested $950,000, but FEMA reduced its request to $750,000, including the city's portion of the cost, based on market research. Glover said he is "kind of skeptical" the city can order a ladder truck for $750,000.
"If we can get a demo model weÕll do it because it speeds up the process and decreases the costs," he said.
Glover said he will request additional funding from the city Common Council if he learns that the department cannot order a truck to meet its needs for $750,000.
Director of Administration and Finance Bryan Gazda recently said the city does not have $37,500 that could be used in this year's budget, but that the money could be included in the 2011 budget. Gazda said the ladder truck could be purchased at the end of this year if the fire department has completed the bidding process and the city finds money in the budget to pay for it, or it could be purchased in early 2011.
If the city ordered a custom-made truck it would probably take nine to 12 months before the city could put it into use. The department could order a demo model truck and begin using it as soon as one month, he said.
Glover said one of the biggest safety improvements in the new truck will be that the portion of the cab in which firefighters ride will be closed, so that firefighters cannot fall out while riding. The 1981 ladder truck has an open cab in the passenger section, Glover said.
Glover said the city cannot sell the 1981 ladder truck to another fire department for use in emergencies, because FEMA considers it unsafe and wants to take it out of use. It could be sold to a person who wants to display it, however.
The 1981 truck is one of two ladder trucks the city owns. Glover said the other truck, built in 1990, also requires heavy maintenance and added that he will now try to focus on maintaining that truck instead of the truck that will be replaced.
Glover said he will ask the paid firefighters in his department to begin long-term planning about replacing the department's eight fire trucks and its hazmat vehicle.


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