North Fond du Lac (WI) Considers Fire Apparatus Purchase

The North Fond du Lac Village Board is asking for the community’s help to decide whether to replace the fire department’s Truck 505, their 55-foot aerial ladder truck.

No. 505 was built in 1986, about 30 years ago. The average life expectancy of a fire truck is 30 years, and it will take a year to order a new one.

“When it comes to 505, we are beyond refurbing the truck,” said newly installed North Fond du Lac Fire Chief Richard Zmuda. “In my opinion right now, the truck is unsafe for my firefighters.”

Members of the fire department are looking at 100-foot models of a fire truck to add to their two pumper trucks, taking into consideration that many houses and apartment complexes are set back from the road and it may take a longer ladder to reach fires in upper floors.

A dealer and seller have come to the fire department with an offer of $820,000 for a 107-foot truck. However, before the board makes a final decision to purchase it or go another route, it wants input from the community.

The discussion about possibly replacing the truck started at a board meeting in October 2014 and again in July. After July’s meeting and hearing some of the community’s opinions, the board decided to organize a series of meetings to allow community members to give their opinions and form a recommendation for the board.

“We like to have community input and participation, especially with big-purchase items.” Tammy Keller, a village board member and the leader of the meetings, said.

In addition to the possible increase in taxes if the truck is purchased, some community members are also concerned about the insurance prices going up on their homes if the board decides not to replace the truck. Insurance companies purchase ISO data and calculate rates based on certain criteria. Ratings are formed based on three areas: notification, which amounts to 10 percent of the rating; water which amounts for 50 percent; and equipment, personnel and response time, amounting to 40 percent.

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