Great Falls (MT) Enters Purchasing Group to Buy Fire Apparatus

The city of Great Falls is entering the Houston-Galveston Area Council, which is a cooperative purchasing agreement, to purchase two new fire trucks for Great Falls Fire/Rescue.

GFFR officials drafted bid specifications for two new Rescue Pumper Apparatus.

During the process, GFFR Chief Steve Hester and the fleet manager looked into using H-GAC instead of the traditional process.

The city has used other cooperative purchasing agreements in the past, including State Contract purchasing, City of Billings/Great Falls Interlocal Purchasing Agreement and the U.S. Communities purchasing programs, according to the staff report.

During a City Commission work session about the agreement Tuesday, Hester said this option gives the city the ability to get exactly what it wants at a better price.

The current city fire apparatus have custom chassis, which are costly, Hester said.

In the proposal for new trucks, the department decided to use commercial chassis and build the fire truck around that.

The trucks are estimated at $390,000 each, Hester said.

Using the purchasing group would save the city an estimated $8,000 per fire truck, according to the city.

There is a $2,000 administrative fee charged by H-GAC that is added into the cost of the apparatus and is paid by the fire apparatus manufacturer. That fee is the same regardless of how many fire trucks the city purchases at one time.

The priority is to replace the 20-year-old trucks first that “don’t meet the needs of the community,” Hester said.

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