Fire truck purchase scrapped

FLINT TWP. — Citing the uncertain economy, the Board of Trustees decided against buying a multipurpose fire truck that was let out for bids back in August.

At that time the board discussed the inability of the truck’s 75-foot ladder to reach the roofs of the tallest buildings weighed against the unreliability of having to request aerial ladder trucks, when needed, from cooperating municipalities.

Fire Chief John Ringwelski asked the board at its Monday night meeting to accept a bid from Pierce Manufacturing for $667,893 to purchase the aerial ladder truck — down from about $733,000 projected costs when the board approved bid letting in August.

A committee of firefighters have since worked on specifications for the truck and removed all but its most functional features.

“I want you guys to understand we’re not purchasing something that the fire department wants, we are purchasing something the community needs,’’ Ringwelski said.

He said the truck had better safety features and could go on runs alone, replacing the need to send two or more trucks. The fire department has had ladder trucks in the past but sold them after they became old and inoperable and cost too much to repair.

Ed Levy, a sales representative for Pierce Manufacturing, attributed the reduction in the proposed trucks cost to a $20,000 group bid discount with other municipalities, a $29,000 prepay price break and a $30,000 trade-on for two 1991 pumper trucks the township owns.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voted 5-2 against purchasing the truck with Clerk Kim Courts and Supervisor Karyn Miller voting in favor.

Trustee Frank Kasle said he could not support the purchase because he was not convinced it best serves the township needs to spend a good chunk of available fire millage money on one truck instead of saving it for unforeseen future fire equipment needs.

“To buy this truck at this present time doesn’t seem to be to be a smart idea the way the economy is because there will be things that come up in the next (few) years,” Kasle said.

He said he favored getting the township fire department with the equipment needed within the township’s financial means. He suggested keeping an eye for a used truck that could be purchased for less.

Trustee George Menoutes concurred, also citing the economy and his doubts of it improving much in 2012.

“Just because we’ve got some money in the bank doesn’t mean we have to spend it,” he said.

Board members also discussed the age of the pumper trucks being offered for trade-in and whether previous trucks were sold without full board approval.

A motion by Trustee Barb Vert to table the discussion to allow time to gather more information was defeated. She mentioned considering the potential of shared services with other municipalities that could negate the need to buy the truck.

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