Fire Chief Jack McElfish spoke to council members about the need for new trucks at the council’s March 5 meeting at City Hall.
“The bottom line is, we have an aging fleet,” he said. “All but two of our [six] trucks [have driven] over 83,000 miles.”
The trucks are seven years old, at which point McElfish said they will continue to deteriorate and need maintenance. McElfish said most trucks have a life of seven to 10 years.
Trading in the trucks sooner will give the city more money from a buy-back program. McElfish said each year the trucks’ values will continue to decrease by at least $330,000 overall.
According to McElfish, 75 percent of the department’s instances are EMS, with only 10 percent of the instances being fires.
The new proposed fleet will consist of four quints and two engine-pumpers. Three of the quints will have a 105-foot ladder. The other will have a 100-foot platform.
The two engine-pumpers will cost $584,539 each. The three new quints with a ladder will cost $896,462 each, and the quint with a platform will cost $1.03 million.
The total cost of the new trucks will be $4.7 million, but the truck company will buy back the current fleet for $1.2 million, leaving the city $3.5 million to be financed over a seven-year period, according to Karen Ellis, finance director.
The city will pay $528,602.19 per year if they select financing with SunTrust Bank, which gave it the lowest interest rate.
The city recently paid off its first fleet of fire trucks.
“There’s no major budget hit, because we’ve always had this built into the budget,” said City Manager John McDonough.