Council considers $532,000 investment for new fire truck
The Jesup City Council was scheduled to have a special meeting Monday, Feb. 10 at the Jesup Emergency Services building to see a demonstration model of a potential new city fire truck proposed for purchase by Fire Chief Andy Trumbauer. Cost of the truck with included equipment would be around $532,000.

According to Trumbauer’s recent report to the council, the current city pumper apparatus is a 1987 Ford chassis with a general brand fire body. Each year the Fire Department is required to have certified pump testing, which normally results in yearly maintenance expenses due to decline or failure of valve systems, pump packings or other items.

“This particular truck has been rapidly declining in reliability and increasing in maintenance obligations,” Trumbauer stated in his report.

He cited electrical malfunctions, including circuit breakers, causing warning light failures, pump panel light and gauge failures and much more.

“Long story short,” Trumbauer said in the report, “this truck is 33 years old and it is time to be replaced.”

“This is the citizens’ and businesses’ first and only line of defense for fire protection with our community,” he continued.

“The Fire Department and City … have been saving for this replacement for the past 14-15 years,” Trumbauer said.

Currently, the Fire Department Vehicle Replacement Fund holds roughly $420,000 with another $50,000 in tax money due to be added at the end of June, which is the end of the city’s current fiscal year.

In addition, the Fire Department received a $50,000 donation specifically for a new truck recently from Mark and Deb Collett. And the Fire Association is willing to provide up to $20,000 from their fund-raising donations. This totals $540,000, enough to cover the cost of the new apparatus and certain equipment. The included equipment are tire chains, ladders, hand tools, communication heads, a master flow deluge gun, and wheel chocks with bracket. It will take 9-11 months to custom build this apparatus from the time it is ordered. The $532,000 price includes an $18,574 discount, which will be provided if a $485,000 deposit is made at the time of the order.

Although the replacement of this fire truck was not planned for this year, Trumbauer argued that there were several reasons to move ahead and approve this purchase before the end of February. They included: “evidence of new problems, coupled with the ongoing issues, and some critical upcoming time-frames.”
The time-frame issues would include a March 1 deadline for a 3% increase by the manufacturer, and potentially changes in requirements by the National Fire Protection Agency, which could add as much as $10,000 to the cost of the apparatus, according to Trumbauer’s report.

“I would like to propose that the city move forward with the consideration of purchasing a new apparatus,” Trumbauer said.

The council would have to approve ordering the fire truck, as well as moving up the deposit of the $50,000 tax funding for this fiscal year to February in order to meet the deadlines Trumbauer suggested.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at Jesup City Hall. The council changed their regular meeting nights from Tuesdays to the first and third Mondays of each month at a January meeting.
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