New ambulance on order

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 14, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council voted to buy a new ambulance for the Fire Department Nov. 21, helping to fill a gap made by a vehicle that has spent a lot of time in the repair shop. 

Fire Chief George Morehouse said the department looked at rebuilding an ambulance on a new chassis or a full replacement, but found that only heavy-duty chassis that are larger than what the city needs would fit the current ambulance box.

“There’s still a limited amount of chassis available even for the remount,” he said. 

The city has remounted two ambulances in the past three years, but according to documents provided to City Council, manufacturers have discontinued chassis models for the current ambulance.

And, he said, it would take longer to rebuild an ambulance then it would be to order new. At the same time, the city would be able to keep the older ambulance in service while a new one is being built, instead of having to send it out for a new chassis.

City Manager Mike Smith said that he then directed the department to look into purchasing an entirely new ambulance.

“For $15,000 more, we could get a brand new ambulance. The box is new; the ride is the same ride we’ve got now on the Ford chassis,” he said. “It’s still within the budget that we laid out.”

The city received two bids, one from Horton for $219,089 — and the company would give the city $4,500 for a trade-in — and one from EV Plus for $222,827, with the trade-in included in that price. While EV Plus could have the ambulance ready in half the time — 90 days, versus 180 for Horton — the price was more, Morehouse said. 

The city had budgeted $225,000 for the replacement ambulance, so both bids were still under budget, he said. 

“The equipment we have will sustain us for the extra ... days,” Smith said. “We’re better off being under budget on this.”

Councilwoman Candice Rusie questioned the low trade-in value for the ambulance.

“I’d say just keep it for $4,000,” she said. “This is just crazy.”

But Smith said there isn’t necessarily a large market for used chassis and ambulances because there is a lot of wear and tear on the vehicles.

City Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Peter Accica opposed, to grant the bid to Horton in Columbus, Ohio.

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