The city of East Bethel is replacing two of its fire engines and will have the new equipment within a year, according to Fire Chief Mark DuCharme.
Engine 31, stationed at the Coon Lake Beach fire station, is 28 years old. Engine 21 at Fire Station No. 2 is only 17 years old, but it is in worse shape than the older Engine 31 because of severe rust, according to DuCharme.
He would have a tough time trying to sell Engine 21 because of the rust, DuCharme said.
With both these fire engines at the end of their useful life for the city of East Bethel, DuCharme searched for a good deal.
The East Bethel City Council July 18 approved purchasing two new fire engines from Rosenbauer America of Wyoming for $649,712. The price for both vehicles actually came to just over $657,000, but there was a $7,600 discount for purchasing two vehicles. Engine 21 cost $387,347 and Engine 31 cost $269,965.
The reason Engine 31 is so much cheaper is because it is must be smaller than Engine 21 in order to fit in the Coon Lake Beach fire station, DuCharme said.
All money for this purchase will come from the vehicle/equipment replacement fund, he said. The fire department and other departments such as public works annually transfer funds from their departmental budgets to this account for future equipment purchases.
City Administrator Jack Davis said the capital equipment fund was started about eight years ago. By setting aside money each year, the city does not have to issue bonds and thus incur debt to pay for these larger purchases. The fire department in recent years has been setting aside $115,000 annually.
DuCharme heard from other fire chiefs about something called the Houston-Galveston Area Council and from here he found the fire truck company he wanted to work with.
According to its website, the Texas-based council is governed by a board of 35 elected representatives from a 13-county region. Those who become members of the cooperative can order equipment through them and thus have access to a mass purchaser. By purchasing in bulk, companies offer discounts that are passed onto the customer.
This is the first time that DuCharme has utilized the Houston-Galveston Area Council and he estimated he saved about 7 percent just by using it.
The trucks will not be in East Bethel for a year because it takes time to assemble these vehicles after they are ordered.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]