Warrant article for the purchase of new fire truck.
Plainfield Town Meeting Warrant Article:
To see if the town will support the purchase of a new firetruck for the town. Specifically, a 2024 E-One 1250 ga./1250 gpm 4 person cab truck. The estimated cost of the truck is $670,000.00 based on the needs for fire protection and emergency services for the Town of Plainfield at this time and the next 20-30 years.
Why this fire truck now???
The decision to approve the purchase of this truck now is the simple, least expensive solution in a world of difficult choices. These choices have been well vetted by Plainfield Fire Department Captain Matt Hardwick and a New Truck Committee convened more than a year ago. The committee considered what we need in Plainfield to comply with state and federal rules, regulations, and laws regarding the fitness of current firefighting apparatus.
These regulations and current best practice standards recommend a fire department’s “First Truck” responding to any call have less than 20 years’ service. Our Engine-1 is a 31 year old fire pumper scheduled to be replaced last year, at age 30. When the committee took our specifications, they got an estimate from the manufacturer last April 2022 for $638,000. That exact truck as of March 2023 is now $747,000. In 2019, before Covid, truck prices increased 3 to 4% per year; post Covid crisis the annual price rise is now at 10-11%. Our $747,000 price tag will be at or above $900,000 in two years.
Working with the manufacturer’s representative, the committee re-worked the specifications and found a program to build several similar trucks in the next two years at a significant savings and guaranteed Plainfield’s fire engine price - $667,233. And that explains the NOW….to be in this program, at this price, our upcoming May Town Meeting must approve this purchase for delivery of our new truck in 22 months.
The truck committee, working with fire department officers and members, took a 20–25-year view in considering how to proceed. That is how the specifications and design decisions have been made. And this truck, on this program, is the least expensive option for the next two decades plus.
If this year’s Town Meeting approves this truck purchase it will be scheduled for delivery in 22 months: cost guaranteed at $667,233. Last year Town Meeting put $50,000 into a fund toward a new fire truck. There is also an article on this year’s Town Meeting warrant to put aside an additional $50,000. If next year’s Town Meeting does the same, $517,000 remains to be paid. There will be a concerted effort over the next 2 years to find grant and gift money available toward this crucial equipment purchase.
When the 22 months have elapsed, the town can borrow the balance needed at that time and spread the cost out over seven to ten years. This also means those citizens benefiting from this asset are making the significant investment.
To conclude is to repeat…this truck cost will only increase over time. Last year the Town Meeting affirmed the concept of supporting our dedicated firefighters by preparing to provide this necessary equipment. We hope this year’s Town Meeting agrees.