COOLIDGE — After months of discussion, debate and the establishment of a committee to further study the issue, the Coolidge Fire Department presented a recommendation to council on a firetruck refurbishment.
At the direction of the City Council, CFD was instructed to create a committee to examine and recommend the refurbishment of one of two firetruck options presented during a study session held on June 8.
Coolidge Fire Chief Mark Dillon said that the city had the option to refurbish a 1992 KME Falcon the department already had on hand or to purchase, and subsequently refurbish, a 2005 Pierce Saber through the Henderson, Nevada based company.
The department’s recommendations came under scrutiny by full-time and volunteer CFD staff, who felt administration was overlooking firefighter safety and failed to notify staff members of the refurbishment prior to making the recommendations.
But at the end of the two week deadline set by Mayor Jon Thompson, a committee comprised of full time, volunteer CFD and public works staff came to a unanimous agreement.
Going before the council on Monday, Dillon said that the appointed committee unanimously voted to recommend the purchase and refurbishment of the Pierce Saber over that of the KME Falcon and requested that council waive the sealed bid requirements for the purchase.
“Everyone was heard and a lot of frank discussion was had on what are needs are, what we can afford and what works best for us,” Dillon said of the committee’s meeting. “This is the conclusion we came to.”
CFD will use funds from the sale of Rescue 534, approximately $140,000, and capital sales tax monies to cover the cost of purchasing and refurbishing the firetruck.
Though the decision will cost the city more compared to the refurbishment of the 1992 vehicle, as the final purchase and refurbishment price amounts to $232,597, Dillon said the committee believed the Pierce Saber the better option in the long term— an opinion which he backed.
Once the project is completed, CFD expects it will get about 15-20 years out of the later model fire apparatus — approximately 10 years of additional service compared to Engine 533.
A full engine rebuild, transmission dyno testing and inspection of the vehicle’s pump are among the items included the price of the refurbishment, along with various cosmetic and functional updates.
According to Dillon, if the transmission fails testing, it will be rebuilt at the expense of Firetrucks Unlimited.
All updates and changes made by the company will be warranted for a year.
“I think its the right decision too,” Thompson said. “We’re going to have to build a new public safety facility somewhere going west and south in the near future and we’re going to have to get a new (fire)truck. But this (the Pierce Saber) will get us to that point in time.”
CFD also provided council, at their request, with a list of repairs needed across the department’s fleet. Addressing the vehicle deficiencies could cost up to $32,550 — the bulk of which would go to repairing issues with the TAK-4 suspension on the department’s main vehicle and repairs to the ladder truck.