By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — There may have to be some tough decisions when it comes to spending Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds in 2023, but the City of Greenville will move forward with purchasing a new fire truck. Greenville City Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase the vehicle at a special meeting Tuesday evening.
Safety/Service Director Ryan Delk has already secured a quote for a 4.8 percent rate over 10 years but has also discussed the issue with a local bank that feels they could possibly come up with a rate closer to 4.5 percent. The 10-year loan for the $1.2 million piece of equipment would cost the city approximately $140,000 a year.
The biggest challenge will be in 2023 when the city will also have the final $110,000 payment on another fire department vehicle. The loans are paid through the CIP funds, which are also used to purchase other equipment and road paving. The city’s carryover from year to year goes into the CIP funds and that has not yet been established for 2023. The purchase may require the city to delay purchasing new equipment for other departments or paving certain streets. However, that is still an unknown.
By signing the contract to purchase the new fire vehicle by Oct. 31, the city will save six percent of the cost. Pierce will be raising its price by that amount beginning Nov. 1. The city will save another six percent by paying the cost upfront. In total, the city could save $120,000 to $140,000 on the cost of the vehicle by purchasing and paying for it now. The estimated time to build and deliver the new vehicle is 31 months.
The new vehicle will replace two existing pieces of equipment, including Engine 143, a 1997 Pierce Pumper, and Utility 161, a 1974 Mac Utility. According to Chief Russ Thompson, the new truck will take the capabilities of both trucks and combine them into one. “The new apparatus is the same as 143 as far as it still holds 750 gallons of water and still has a 1500 gallon/per minute pump and then it has excessive storage on it, which is basically a rescue body,” said Chief Thompson. He said everything that is currently on 161 will be on this vehicle. The only difference would be a reduction in the capability of refilling SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) air bottles on the fire grounds. However, the reduction on a typical fire would not be enough to require the department to request mutual aid.
Councilman Chris Norris questioned if the reduction of vehicles would harm the ISO Public Protection Classification. “I don’t see any change. ISO is more concerned with water and pump capacity. We’re still the same. That did not change,” said Thompson.
The department has a vehicle that is older than the 1997 Pierce, but it is in better condition. Greenville is the third owner of the 1997 model. Thompson believes the 1995 Pierce is in better shape because the city is the original owner and regularly performs maintenance on the vehicle. The department is trying to extend the life of that vehicle. It is not a primary vehicle but is used on larger incidents in the city when off-duty personnel are called in and also for mutual aid calls. Councilman Leon Rogers asked when the chief felt the 1995 would need to be replaced. “I really don’t have a projection on it,” Thompson said. “Right now, it is still running really great, and we have minimal issues on it.” He is hoping they will be able to keep it in service for the next 6 to 10 years.
Council President John Baumgardner asked if the proposed piece of equipment would still be needed if Greenville Township and Greenville City Fire Departments merged. “Whether we merge or not, this piece of apparatus will still be needed.” However, Thompson noted that if a merger does take place the 1995 Pierce would come into play. He said that was part of his reasoning for not coming to council to replace multiple vehicles. If they do merge, he believes the 1995 Pierce would eventually go away.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].