The Liberty Township Fire Department is in line to get a new fire engine. During Monday’s meeting of the Liberty Township Board of Trustees, a resolution was approved to authorize the purchase of the new truck, which is expected to be ready for use in October.
Speaking during the meeting, Liberty Township Fire Chief Tom O’Brien said that in addition to adding a new truck to the fleet, the purchase will allow the department to have a much-needed reserve engine when another truck is taken off the line.
“So far this year, even though we have a new fleet, we’ve had to borrow an engine for more than 44 days because when a fleet goes down, it’s under warranty,” O’Brien said. “And when it goes under warranty work, you’re at the mercy of when they’ll get to the warranty work. With the new ladder coming in, we’re going to be in the same boat.”
O’Brien said Engine 322, which has been in service for five years, will be taken offline and used as a backup when another engine requires maintenance. He said an engine’s typical lifespan is 10 years on the frontline, but by moving the current truck to a reserve capacity well before that time, the lifespan of the engine will be extended to at least 15 years.
O’Brien added that while Engine 322 will move to a backup role, it will still allow the fire department to have an additional truck to send out if circumstances dictate a need.
The new truck, which will be purchased from Sutphen Corporation in Dublin, will cost $549,950. While the cost of the new truck is not reflected in the current budget, O’Brien said that through selling assets and other things such as TIF money, the township is able to afford it “without affecting the long plan.” O’Brien estimated less that $100,000 will need to be drawn from the fire/EMS fund to pay for the truck when all additonal revenues are factored in.
“It’s actually going to save us about $400,000 in the long run because we won’t have to put this in (to the budget) and draw that money to buy it,” O’Brien told Trustee Mike Gemperline, adding that the cost for a new fire apparatus is increasing by $20-25,000 each year.
“To me, it’s sort of paying it now or later,” Gemperline said of the purchase. “It’s going to extend the service of our fleet and do a lot for us.”
“I know we’ve done, for many years, the fleet assessment, and that’s always such a great tool for us to use,” Trustee Chair Shyra Eichhorn told O’Brien. “We’re dedicated to being more proactive and not getting behind on our equipment as we’ve seen with some of the issues we had on some other items. I know I was a little hesitant when we first talked about it. But after looking at the numbers and spending a great deal of time with you, going through the questions, I think this is a responsible move for us.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.