Fire truck purchase legislation eyed in Northfield

Ken Lahmers
Correspondent
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NORTHFIELD – The village could have a new fire truck in service within a year after Council discussed placing an order for a roughly $600,000 Pierce vehicle at its Nov. 11 meeting.

Law Director Brad Bryan was given the go-ahead to draft legislation for Council’s Dec. 9 session after Fire Chief Jason Buss said he will provide the company with a list of specs and obtain a final quote.

The chief said it would take about nine to 12 months to build the truck. Depending on the final cost, he estimated a five-year payment plan would cost the village about $118,808 a year, whereas a 10-year plan would cost about $65,601.

The first year’s payment likely would be included in the village’s 2022 budget. The expected lifespan of the new truck would be 20 to 25 years.

The truck would replace a 1992 Pierce pumper, which Buss said could be sold at auction online. He added the National Fire Prevention Association suggests trucks be retired after 25 years. The fire department also has a 2010 model truck in its fleet.

“The final quote provided by Pierce would be guaranteed until Feb. 1, 2021, when it will increase,” said Buss. “We’ve always had good service out of Pierce trucks.”

Councilman Nick Magistrelli and Mayor Jesse Nehez expressed concerns about purchasing the truck during a period when finances are unstable because of the coronavirus crisis.

“What if MGM Northfield Park shuts down [because of state mandates] and our revenue is affected?” Magistrelli asked. “I don’t want to put ourselves up against the wall. Personally, I don’t buy something if I have doubts about paying for it in the future.”

Councilman Gary Vojtuch said the village has put off the purchase for quite a while, and it’s time to move ahead. “Since the first payment wouldn’t be until 2022, I think we could easily go ahead with the purchase without a negative impact on our finances,” he said.

Buss added the village has saved money on other fire department equipment purchases, such as a new ambulance, making more money available for the truck purchase.

OTHER BUSINESS

Council approved a handful of purchases, including a 2020 Chevy Equinox LS to be used by the police department’s detective bureau. It will be bought from Tim Lally Chevrolet for $22,515, with a $2,100 trade-in credit for an 11-year-old Chevy Impala.

The city will pay Mid-Ohio Asphalt & Concrete $7,600 for emergency repairs after a water line break on Houghten Road, and WatchGuard $16,770 for a new server to handle police cruiser dash cam and officers’ body cam videos.

A one-year collective bargaining agreement with Local 439 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers was approved. That union represents village service department workers and clerks/secretaries.

Salaries and wages for 2021 will be as follows: Service superintendent/building-zoning inspector, $95,839; project inspector, $11,275; court clerk, $54,375; assistant superintendent, $27.90 per hour; advanced maintenance, $26.56; maintenance, $21.60 to $25.07; administrative clerk/service secretary, $25.42; office assistant, $15.92; and part-timers, $20.02 to $15.02.

Council confirmed the mayor’s appointment of Melissa Vitulo to the recreation board, OK’d the renewal of the 2021 agreement with the legal defenders office of Summit County and requested the county fiscal office to advance tax levy funds for 2020.

Service Superintendent Jason Walters announced Dec. 4 will be the cutoff for leaf collection and the former PNC Bank building on Route 8, which the village owns, will be demolished soon. He said longtime service department worker Roger Stone will retire effective Jan. 1.

Buss announced the fire department’s traditional Santa Run likely will be canceled this year because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Nov. 25 and Dec. 23 Council meetings are canceled because of the holidays.

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