City officials made a point of pulling all capital expenditures from this year’s budget due to tight finances, but a last-minute deal to purchase a new fire truck is in the works.
Fire Chief Rich Benton approached the City Council Finance Committee on Monday with a request to purchase a new fire engine capable of pumping 1,500 gallons of water per minute. It is needed to replace Engine 5, purchased in 1997, that is at the East Broad Street fire station on jack stands after being put out of service a little over a year ago.
Benton called the need for a new fire engine “dire.”
Engine 5 is rusty, inoperable and has about 100,000 miles on it.
Benton said having a reliable reserve truck is as critical as having a reliable front-line truck when dealing with a department with such an old fleet like Elyria’s.
Still, Council members are not certain if the city can afford such a big purchase.
Since a November levy was defeated, the message coming from City Hall has consistently centered on how little money the city has for anything beyond basic necessities and employee expenses.
When the levy failed, a plan to purchase 10 new police cruisers was scrapped.
Also, there is a $2 million projected revenue drop for 2016. Not to mention, there will be an $850,000 loss in income when Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems leaves the city in two years.
Benton said the truck would cost $415,000 as a basic vehicle that meets National Fire Protection Association standards. The department will strip equipment from the old truck to outfit the new truck, saving the department and city $70,000 to $75,000, Benton said.
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