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City set for two new fire trucks
MONROE - Two new fire trucks coming to Monroe this fall are expected to give the fire department more flexibility in responding with the right-sized apparatus, if the purchases are approved by the Common Council on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The smaller, lightweight response pumpers will replace the 25-year-old and 22-year-old engines (Engine 5 and Engine 6), which are the city's oldest fire engine pumpers.

The city's Board of Public Works gave its unanimous recommendation Monday, Jan. 20, for a quote of $753,000 by Pierce Manufacturing Inc., headquartered in Appleton. The Finance and Taxation Committee will pick up the issue of financing the pair on Tuesday, Jan. 21, before the council meeting.

Two other submitted quotes were $853,200 from Ferrara Fire Apparatus Inc. in Holden, La., and $898,900 from Alexis Fire Equipment Company in Alexis, Ill.

According to Fire Chief Daryl Rausch, the new, smaller engines will respond to routine alarm calls, minor fires and public service calls, which are about 70 percent of the department's calls per year, or about 210 calls.

The older trucks will be reassigned as Squad 5 and Squad 6 and respond to motor vehicle accidents, medical calls and serious, multiple alarm calls. They would be needed for about 90 calls per year.

Rausch said this plan extends the life of both the new and the older engines by splitting up the responses between them. The city can also continue with its 20-year replacement cycle and will not need to purchase another pumper until 2023.

Under the new configuration vehicle uses, the current Engine 1 and Engine 2 would be renumbered and remain in service as squad companies.

Squads carry many tools not often used or needed on routine calls. They have more lighting and auxiliary power capabilities, and generally carry the extrication and rescue tools for car, farm and industrial accidents.

When larger or more complex incidents occur, the squad units would be available to transport specialized tools and equipment, and also serve as additional pumpers. The city is required to maintain the ability to pump 5,000 gallons per minute (plus a spare pumper) to maintain its current insurance ratings and response abilities.

By keeping the older, multiple-capable units, the new engines can be built without all these extra features, saving the city more than $100,000 per truck in equipment costs. It also enables the new engines to be much smaller with more efficient drivelines (engines, transmissions, brakes and differentials), enabling an additional $100,000 savings per truck.

To qualify for the discounted price, Pierce Manufacturing would be given 10.5 months to build the new trucks, about eight to 10 weeks more than its standard lead time. The total cost will have to be paid up front at the time of the contract; however, Rausch said the money will be kept in escrow at five percent interest until delivery.

Rausch is looking at a seven- to 10-year lease purchase program, with an annual payment of $80,000 funded through the department's capital equipment account. The capital equipment account currently has resources set aside for 2015, 2016, and part of 2017. Sale of the old engines in 2018 will help fund the payment in that year. Savings in equipment repairs will help fund future payments in 2019-2021. The smaller trucks are expected to save money in maintenance and operational costs.

Financing quotes are due at noon Tuesday and will be available to the Finance and Taxation Committee at their meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at city hall.