Hermon voters asked to approve fire truck purchase at town meeting

Posted Jan. 18, 2012, at 4:16 p.m.

HERMON — The purchase of a new fire truck will be just one of the four items on the docket at a special town meeting on January 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Public Safety Building.

The proposed fire truck will cost $184,728, according to Fire Chief Ray Pipes. However, the cost of keeping fire truck 412 will easily exceed that amount in the next 10 years. An appraiser recently evaluated truck 412; “it’s value as a fire truck is gone,” Pipes said. “It actually has more value as being sold for scrap.”

Truck 412, a 1990 model E-ONE, was scheduled to be replaced in 2020, but “it won’t make it that long,” Pipes said. In the last year, the truck has experienced four fires, stalled out three times, and also had myriad mechanical failures. Serving primarily as a back-up truck, Truck 412 still goes out on an estimate 300 calls per year. “I’m not comfortable keeping it in the reserve as an emergency apparatus,” Pipes said.

“It costs $4,000 a year just to keep this truck on the road,” Pipes said. “It is nearly a quarter of our budget. [This truck is] on life support. The work isn’t going to add value to it, it’s just to keep it on the road.”

The new truck is a 2008 Crimson Fire truck with a Class A pumper and low mileage. It maintains the same ISO rating as the current truck, which is a bonus when it comes to insuring it. According to Pipes, it is smaller than the truck it’s replacing, but it will come with a five-year warranty. In addition, Pipes said, the new truck would be rated to handle land and structure fires.

The new truck has a capacity of pumping 1,000 gallons per minute and a holding capacity of 500 gallons. The current truck has a larger capacity, as it’s able to pump 1,250 gallons per minute and has a capacity of 750 gallons.

Similar models cost between $190,000 and $287,000.

“It’s a 2008 model year holdover, and the company wants to get it out of their inventory,” Pipes told the council in December. “There will be no additional cost to the taxpayer.”

In fact, Pipes and Town Manager Clinton Deschene put forth a plan to pay for the truck by realizing the savings from maintenance and fuel costs as well as using part of the budget already allotted for the fire department. The town would need to put $90,000 down and make two payments of $50,131 spread over two years. Pipes estimates that it will be another 10 years before another fire truck needs to be replaced.

“My intent is just because a truck is supposed to be replaced in 20 or 25 years, that should be a benchmark,” Pipes said.

After electing to not deviate from the bid process, bids were received for similar trucks, and the final bid for the Crimson Fire truck was approved unanimously by the town council at a Dec. 29 special council meeting.

Now it’s up to residents to make the final approval of the purchase at a special town meeting at the Public Safety Building behind the town office at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. For more information, visit www.hermon.net.

Also on the agenda is the authorization of $58,000 of unrestricted net assets for the general assistance fund for fiscal year 2012, authorization for the purchase of a property adjacent to the town office and public safety building, and authorization to purchase a used dump truck and plow for Public Works.

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