Neenah-Menasha (WI) Fire Rescue Seeks to Purchase Fire Apparatus

Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue is seeking approval to buy a new fire truck two years ahead of schedule because its 24-year-old reserve fire truck suddenly faces $20,000 or more in repairs.

The fire department recommends purchasing a 2015 Pierce Manufacturing Saber fire truck for $387,000. It would serve as a front-line fire engine, moving a 1997 Pierce Saber truck to reserve status and replacing a 1991 Pierce Arrow truck.

Neither Neenah nor Menasha has money budgeted for a new fire truck because the purchase was scheduled for 2017, not 2015.

Neenah and Menasha faced a similar situation last summer, when a 1997 Pierce aerial ladder truck experienced a series of mechanical breakdowns, prompting the cities to replace the truck a year ahead of schedule.

In the 2014 situation, Neenah paid its share of the cost (60 percent) from its capital equipment fund and then replenished the fund with borrowed money. Menasha borrowed its share (40 percent) from the State Trust Fund Loan Program.

Neenah Finance Director Mike Easker and Menasha Comptroller-Treasurer Peggy Steeno said similar financing could be arranged this time if the Neenah and Menasha common councils proceed with the purchase. The proposal first will be presented to the Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue Joint Finance and Personnel Committee.

Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue has four front-line fire trucks, a ladder truck and a reserve truck. The reserve truck is used for backup on major fires or when one of the front-line trucks is out of service for maintenance or repairs.

Fire Chief Al Auxier said the 1991 reserve truck should be taken out of service. He said mechanics recently noticed water in the oil and that the necessary repairs could exceed the value of the truck.

The fire department looked at nine new or demo trucks — six from Pierce, two from Marion Body Works and one from Seagrave Fire Apparatus. They ranged in price from $340,000 to $505,000. The recommended Pierce truck could be ready by mid-October.

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