Ottawa (OH) Looks for Financial Flexibility in Fire Apparatus Purchase

During a Dec. 9 Ottawa Village council meeting, Ottawa Fire Chief Dan Rieman appealed to members for financial leeway should a good deal arise on a new or used ladder truck.

“Our ladder truck was not certified,” said Rieman. “But an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (through Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been submitted for a used vehicle. We’re not 100 percent sure we will get the grant. Ottawa did fall in the high priority range, though.”

Even with the possibility of approved grant funding, Rieman stated that this approval may not come for at least a year. In the meantime, opportunities for the village to purchase good, used and necessary equipment may fall by the wayside. Such was the case since council’s last meeting on Nov. 25.

A research team from the Ottawa Village Fire Department, including Rieman, located one used fire-fighting vehicle in Columbus. Following a site visit and careful inspection of the truck, the team determined that the 100-foot bucket, 2006 ladder truck was a great deal at the $450,000 asking price. A new truck of its type costs approximately $1.2 million dollars, according to the chief. However, the vehicle was sold to another fire department before Rieman could consult members of council.

“We were outmaneuvered by another municipality,” said Council Member Gene Hovest. “Can we be a bit more nimble and be prepared to allow (the fire department) to make a move whether there is a grant or not? Can we have a resolution in place that will allow them to mover forward with a purchase that meets requirements?”

Ottawa Law director Joseph Schroeder responded that this option would require a series of resolutions. Rieman stated that the fire department is willing to push back the purchase of a pump truck in order to secure a certifiable ladder truck.

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