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Dayton Holds Off on Fire Truck Purchase, Honors Civilian Hero

The Bellevue-Dayton Fire Department sought approval from Dayton City Council to enter into an agreement to accept a bid on a new fire ladder truck that would cost the city around $50,000 annually.

City Council, though, decided to wait for its finance committee to meet and evaluate its options in terms of loan duration, interest rates and other financial considerations before moving the effort forward with a vote of approval. 

The current ladder truck the BDFD uses is 23 years old and costs over $21,000 every year in maintenance. In 2014, the truck had 37 out-of-service days due to the amount of maintenance it required. 

BDFD Firefighter Brian Boyers gave a presentation to city council outlining the details of cost and other information. In his presentation, he said that a new truck is valued at nearly $700,000. The loan estimates he gave were for six years at a 3.78 percent interest rate. That broke down to a cost of $111,685 that would be split evenly by the two cities.

There could be as much as $30,000 in resale of the BDFD existing truck, though Boyers said that estimate was on the optimistic side.

“If we’re able to sell it, it would be a blessing because it’s hard to get rid of old fire apparatuses,” Boyers said.

Any money that can be generated from a resale would be used for new equipment on the new truck.

The BDFD wants a single-source truck, meaning the manufacturer carries all the parts that would need maintenance or to be replaced. It was also important to the department that it get what is called a short jack truck—trucks with jacks that don’t need to be extended too wide, but are still able to lift the ladder.

Boyers said in his proposal that industry standards make the price go up on firefighting apparatus as high as 4 percent each year and that entering into an agreement on a new truck would help limit costs.

“If we just happened to have a rescue on the second floor, it’s a lot easier to have a ladder truck to do those rescues,” Boyers said.

While Councilman Bill Burns agreed to give city council some time to assess the fire truck proposal, he said that he is eager to vote to approve it as soon as next month’s meeting.

“If we don’t do something now, whether it be tonight or the December meeting, we’re just putting them off and putting them off. When you have a bad roof and you keep on putting it off, you’re going to have problems. We put off buying equipment for this fire department ever since the merger. We’re behind the eight ball now. We have to do something,” Burns said.

When it appeared that Mayor Virgil Borowski was prepared to initiate a vote of approval, City Administrator Michael Giffen recommended that council take its time with the decision to make sure that it enters into the optimal contract for the city.

“It’s not just a fire department. It’s a lot of money that affects every single department of the City of Dayton. We need to make sure that we analyze this cost and not jump into this too quickly. I’m not denying that fact that we need something, but we have to figure out how and where the money comes from. We’ve just slowly started to crunch those numbers and I would caution before making any decision tonight to think about what we can do here over the next couple of weeks,” he said.

In the end, it was agreed that council would discuss the financial term options further and raise the issue again in the December meeting.

Other Notes:

James Siereveld was honored by BDFD Chief Mike Auteri with a civilian award for his bravery in saving an elderly neighbor from a house fire in Dayton on October 9.

James and his wife Heather were awakened by the glow of the neighboring fire. James ran to the back of the structure and forced himself into the locked back door. Inside, he found the woman on the floor of the burning house and drag her outside to safety.  The woman was restricted by a wheelchair. She was transported to a hospital where she was treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

“This honor is for prompt and alert action performed at great personal risk which specifically resulted in saving a life from a burning building,” Aufert said.

-Bryan Burke, associate editor

Image via BDFD