Weatherford (TX) Officials at Odds Over Fire Apparatus

The city is in need of two new fire trucks, a pumper and a quint. If the city were to purchase a pumper and a quint from Pierce, the cost would be $580,000 and $850,000, totaling a little more than $1.4 million dollars. As a solution to handle the heavy cost load, City of Weatherford Director of Finance Dave Croff presented the council with two options, standard lease purchasing or turn-in leasing.

“The main reasons that we even brought this forward [are] the need to be able to provide adequate fire-fighting apparatuses for the department and [the need to find] a financial mechanism we can afford so we don’t have these peaks and valleys every few years in trying to come up with one-time funding,” Croff said.

If Weatherford were to take on lease purchasing, the term would be a seven year lease, with payments amounting to $93,269 for the pumper per year and $136,687 for the quint per year, with no down payment. The total bill for traditional lease purchasing would be approximately $1.6 million. After the city acquired ownership of the vehicles, they would keep the vehicles for three more years, Croff said.

Over a seven year period, the pumper could be leased for $71,620 per year, and the quint could be leased for $103,129 per year. Once the lease terms end, the end of term options would be to turn in the apparatuses and purchase new ones, make a balloon payment and own the apparatuses, or refinance the balloon payment and retain ownership of the vehicles. The balloon payment for the pumper would be $174,689 and the balloon payment for the quint would be $270,214.

Instead of buying the vehicles on a balloon payment, Croff proposed turning in the trucks for new ones. The trade-ins must be of equal or greater value per the terms of agreement. Although this means Weatherford would only keep the trucks for a total of seven years, Croff said this was for a good reason.

“It is recommended to keep going on that program because the final three years of that useful truck’s life is when the maintenance issues begin to come [up] and become more and more expensive,” Croff said.

“What happens if you’re doing it on a seven year lease program and you have done the maintenance you’re supposed to do, and in five years your engine blows up, then what do you do?” Council Member Waymon Hamilton said.

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