Litchfield Council Approves Purchase Of Rescue Pumper

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The Litchfield Fire Department will be getting a new piece of equipment after the city council approved the purchase of a 2019 Cinder MVP Rescue Pumper during their meeting on Thursday, May 16.

According to Fire Chief Joe Holomy, over the past two months, he had been contacting vendors about the availability of a demo unit being for sale that could serve as both an engine and squad apparatus. Chief Holomy said that two local vendors said units would be available in the next few months, with a KME unit available in September for $538,000 and a Ferrara unit available in June for $495,568.

Chief Holomy said that the KME unit had slightly less storage but more added on options that weren't necessarily needed for the department, hence the price difference. He added that if the city were to go out for bid for a similar unit, it would probably be in the range of $585,000 to $610,000.

The motion in front of the council was to purchase the unit from Ferrara, a 2019 Cinder MVP Rescue Pumper Demo Unit from Mid America Fire and Safety at a cost not to exceed $495,568.

Alderman Dwayne Gerl asked that the motion be tabled until the next meeting, saying that he had a few questions and that it was a lot of money to spend for a purchase that they had only known about for a few days.

Chief Holomy said that the unit was not for sale for long and that these demo units were in very high demand. City Administrator Tonya Flannery said that the vendor agreed to hold the unit for them until the meeting, but it would be going out on the market after that.

Mayor Steve Dougherty asked if the pumper would be replacing an older vehicle. 

Chief Holomy said that the department would be selling two older vehicles, a 24-year-old tender truck and a 23-year-old squad vehicle, with the new pumper capable of replacing both vehicles.

Several firefighters were in attendance for the meeting and Mayor Dougherty asked if any of them had thoughts on the purchase. Captain Chris Handshy said that the fleet is aging and the department is in need of new equipment. He added that a frontline pumper had been down for a week recently and that several other vehicles have needed repairs recently.

Alderman Ray Kellenberger asked how often demo models are available. Chief Holomy said that it is hit and miss and there is no rhyme or reason when the units come up for sale.

Kellenberger also asked if the pumper was an absolute need for the department at this point. Chief Holomy said that the fleet is aging, with three units over 20 years old, two units at 17 years old and one unit at 12 years old, with the average life-span of a frontline apparatus set at 20 years. He added that the department had equipment out of service each of the last four weeks and if the purchase was put off until next year, it would clash with the purchase of an ambulance replacement in the budget.

The council would first vote on the motion to table the purchase, which failed by a 4-3 margin, with Aldermen Gerl and Kellenberger and Alderwoman Marilyn Sisson voting to table and Alderman Woody Street absent. A motion to go ahead with the purchase was approved 7-0 after the vote to table failed.

The other nine items on the agenda drew little conversation and all passed without dissension.  Those items passing were acceptance of the minutes from the May 2, 2019, meeting, a motion to enter into a shared agency agreement with the Montgomery County Emergency Telephone System Board and Motorola to participate in the ETSB's Spillman/Motorola Solutions Modules Project, a motion to declare 95 assorted commemorative gold stamp replicas as surplus, a motion to authorize Kinney Contractors to replace a section of blacktop with cement at the Litchfield wastewater facility for an amount not to exceed $39,186 and a motion to authorize Korte Luitjohan to replace 55,000 square feet of liner at the wastewater facility for an amount not to exceed $159,550.

Alderman Kellenberger asked if the city only received two bids on the liner project, with Flannery saying that was correct.

Other items passing were approval of the flower proposal for the beautification plan for an amount not to exceed $11,000 from the Kilton Fund grant, to contract with Mike Klaves to water, weed and maintain the plantings for an amount not to exceed $540 per week, to purchase six nine-inch regulatory can buoys from Walsh Marine at a cost of $135 per unit plus $160 in shipping and to approve a resolution to establish pay rates for beach and dock staff and establish the beach attendant, concession and dock hand positions.

The council would go into closed session at 6:48 p.m., with no action taken afterward. The council will meet again on Thursday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m.

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