March 13, 2008

City Council Approves $40,000 for New Fire Truck

After faithfully serving this community for more than a quarter of a century, the Scotland County Fire Department is preparing to replace one of its fire trucks.

Assistant fire chief Bryan Whitney addressed the Memphis City Council on March 6th to finalize a preliminary approval for $40,000 in funding to purchase a new fire engine.

The Memphis and Scotland County fire departments have been working since 2007 to secure a replacement for the departments mini-pumper truck. The 1982 Chevy has just 18,000 miles on the odometer, but as the first truck to respond to all incidents, it has lived a long life Whitney told the council.

Initially the plans to replace the truck appeared to be in jeopardy. Cost estimates were received in excess of $165,000 for a new fire truck.

However the department continued the search and identified an alternate provider that submitted a bid of $92,165 for the new vehicle.

Simon Fire Equipment of Farley, IA, submitted the more favorable bid, spurring the decision to proceed with the purchase.

We have reviewed this company and are happy with what we have heard from other customers, Whitney said. We basically feel like we were getting bids on a Cadillac, and now we are looking at buying a Chevy.

He added that the smaller company still maintains more than adequate warranties on all of the components.

The council voted 4-0 to fund $40,000 of the purchase. The city currently has slightly more than $60,000 in the fire department fund.

The Scotland County Rural Fire Board will meet later this week to discuss providing an additional $40,000 of the purchase price.

The volunteer fire department currently has budgeted $10,000 from its funds for the purchase and expects to host a fundraiser if necessary to complete the purchase price or to allow the department to add additional components to the truck.

Whitney added that the department will be able to use a $3,000 matching grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation as the vehicle will be used to fight natural cover fires.

Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) funding that is available annually to the department may also be used to purchase the new equipment.

The new truck is expected to be available six to nine months after the order date.

While the old mini-pumper is being replaced, the truck will not be retired. It will be moved into a secondary role. Equipment will be transferred off the truck to lighten the load and allow it to be used primarily off road for natural cover fires.

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