The Woodstock City Council on Monday voted 4-1, with council member Liz Baxter opposing, to move forward with replacing one of its ailing fire engines, which is slated to cost $398,856.
City Manager Jeff Moon initially gave the council four options on what it could do with the truck:
- do nothing, which he did not recommend;
- replace the frame that supports the body of the truck and make repairs to the body, which would cost around $48,000;
- install a new frame and body on the engine, which would cost the city $73,000 and would result in a truck that has a 2005 cab and chassis and a 1996 pump all inside a new body.
- Replace the truck altogether.
It wouldn't make sense to "spend a significant amount of money" patching up the truck whose pump is nearing 20 years old, he added.
Furthermore, the city has the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, dollars in the budget to make the purchase.
The current fire engine is much older than the normal 10-year life span of a typical truck, Moon said. The current truck was purchased in 1996, but the original cab and chassis were replaced in 2005.
The truck, which the city manager said has "structural problems," including four cracks in the frame that supports the truck's body and cracks in the back portion of the truck.
Fire Chief Dave Soumas noted the truck's maintenance issues are taking a toll on the agency's budget.
"It's starting to cost of some money," he said, adding the truck in question will be traded in.
The new truck will be put in service as its primary truck it will respond to calls with. Furthermore, Soumas said the city will not purchase any new equipment, but will transfer equipment from the current truck to the new truck.
Baxter said that while she understood the city needed a new truck, she felt the city should wait another week so she could review the information.
Council member Tessa Basford countered Baxter's point, adding that she lives in a neighborhood where the city's ladder trucks often respond to house fires. The city can't afford to take risks with not having any ladder trucks in service, she added.