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Fire Department looking to buy new fire truck

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 11, 2016

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FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council is in discussion with its Fire Department about purchasing a new fire truck for the station.

The department is looking to buy a Pierce Velocity-PUC Fire Pumper, which would cost the city $564,611 and come out of the city’s general fund. The vehicle would be built in the next 10 months after the city agreed to buy it.

“Our engines are old,” Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan said to the council at its June 27 meeting. He later said he was “afraid we’re getting to a point where we’re going to have a failure of a vehicle.”

The engines in the department are seven, 14, 20 and 28 years old.

The truck that’s 28 years old, formerly converted from an aerial to a pumper truck, would be sold, which could bring in from $8,000 to $10,000, according to Sullivan.

“We had put off capital expenditures a couple times because our vehicles were in great shape,” he said. “There was really no need at that point. But now I think we’re getting to a point where we’re balancing what could happen with what will happen, and I really don’t want to be put in that spot.”

The council expressed support for purchasing a new truck, as Mayor Dave Coulter said it’s critical that the vehicles are in good shape and can respond to incidents in the city.

“Twenty years is beyond the lifetime of an average fire truck,” he said. “And so it’s time to look at replacing this particular unit.”

Coulter said this is a significant purchase for the city to make, which is why they’re buying it over a five-year period to help spread out the cost of the truck, which is financially helpful to the city.

“There’s a small interest rate to doing that, but it’s negligible compared to coming up with the entire amount of funds,” he said.

The council wanted Sullivan to come back at its July 11 meeting, after press time, regarding what to do after the city agrees to the purchase, the lifecycles for the rest of the fire trucks and the capital plan to replace them going forward

“We have a capital budget where money is put aside for purchases like this,” Coulter said. “We have been saving money for this purchase, and we have enough saved for this truck.”

“The question becomes, this is a significant part of the money that we saved, what are we going to need money for next and how are we saving for it. Because that’s what we do. We put aside money. We save money for these kinds of large expenses,” he said.