New fire truck headed to Northfield in the next year or so

Ken Lahmers
Special to MyTownNEO

NORTHFIELD – By the end of 2021 the village should have its new Pierce Enforcer pumper fire truck ready for service after Council authorized its purchase Dec. 22 for $574,251.

The action means Pierce Manufacturing Inc. of Appleton, Wis. can begin to build the truck. Fire Chief Jason Buss has said it will take from 10 to 12 months for the truck to be built and delivered.

The truck is being purchased through Finley Fire Equipment of McConnelsville. Financing is still to be determined, and Law Director Brad Bryan said village officials will consider several options.

The purchase resolution was adopted on second reading, but Council reps Alan Hipps and Nick Magistrelli voted “no,” saying Council should wait until after its third reading.

“I recommend going to third reading,” said Hipps. “We usually do that when we consider the annual budget and expensive purchases like this. That would get us over the 2020 hump.”

Bryan said he thoroughly perused the purchase agreement since it was discussed at a Council meeting earlier in December, and is comfortable with the revisions.

He said Finley’s offer is based on the state’s cooperative purchase price, which is firm through March 31. He said the price could rise after Feb. 1 only if certain parts costs increase.

Bryan said the village could get an $18,000 discount if it prepays the full purchase price. Other options are prepaying the chassis within 15 days after signing a contract and entering into a finance arrangement with a bank.

If the village goes the financing route, Finance Director Jennifer Potvin said one bank has guaranteed an interest rate of 1.99 percent if the deal is finalized by Jan. 15, 2021, with the first payment due after the truck arrives in late 2021 or early 2022.

Potvin had previously told Council the village could save about $100,000 in interest if it purchases the truck outright rather than financing it over several years.

Council reps said they could finalize the purchase and financing method at their Jan. 13 meeting, which would meet the Jan. 15 deadline for getting the 1.99 percent interest rate.

Potvin said detailed specs information must be received from Finley to pass along to the bank before any financing agreement is completed. Buss said he is confident that could be accomplished before Council’s Jan. 13 session.

Buss and Councilman Gary Vojtuch stressed that getting the new truck as soon as possible is crucial because the current pumper is past its recommended 25-year life span. Buss said there are several safety issues with the current truck, and the village could have liability issues if the safety standards are not adhered to.

In one other fire department-related matter, Buss reported his firefighters were to receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine between Christmas and New Year’s.

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