By Lorrie Ham
The Mayer City Council authorized the purchase of a new fire truck at its April 28 meeting. The council approved the purchase of a Spartan engine truck, built to specifications, at a cost of $539,700. The new fire truck will replace a 30-year-old vehicle.
After compiling the specifications for a new truck, the fire department truck committee solicited bids from three companies. The committee then prepared a specifications comparison sheet to assure compliance with the bid request. Fire Chief Rod Maetzold and his committee sought approval for the purchase of the Spartan truck, which was the lowest of the bids received for a vehicle which included a compressed air foam system (CAFS).
Nearly half of the cost of the truck will be paid for with monies set aside in the city’s truck fund and the Mayer Fire Relief Fund. Of the remaining $287,569, Mayer will be responsible for just over 70 percent of the cost, $202,793, while the townships of Camden, Hollywood, Waconia and Watertown will share the cost of the remaining balance, which will be added to their shares of the fire budget.
If the purchase needs to be financed, the cities would also incur finance charges of $75,381 on a 10 year lease. City Administrator Luayn Murphy said she would be meeting with the city auditor in the next few weeks to determine if the city can spend down its reserves to make a cash payment and avoid the finance charges.
Maetzold explained that a down payment would be required when the truck is ordered, with the balance due upon delivery – approximately 11 months from the time of order. The department began researching a new engine in June 2013.
Councilmember Dan Lueth said he would have liked to have the financing figured out before the truck was ordered. He said he’d like to pay cash and avoid the finance charges and wondered if the timing would work out to be able to do that.
“I don’t know how that affects making a decision to make the purchase,” said Mayor Mike Dodge, who said the financing options had been discussed in previous work sessions. “We need the truck either way.”
Councilmember Tice Stieve-McPadden said they would all like to save the additional money if possible, but the council had to be prepared to finance the purchase if necessary. “We’ll be as fiscally responsible as we can be,” she said.
Councilmember Bruce Osborn said it was difficult to compare the bids because the trucks were different. “I want to make sure we’re getting what the fire department needs, but at a good value,” he said.
The council noted a distinct price difference in the CAFS component on the two most comparable bids. Maetzold explained that the Spartan truck employed a CAFS that used a simpler process, making it cost half as much as the more expensive system.
Councilmembers agreed that CAFS was an important feature to include, citing less stress on equipment as well as firefighters, along with the mitigation of the potentially more damaging effects of water. Maetzold explained that CAFS would be used on basically every fire call.
Maetzold also mentioned the savings that property owners in the service area receive on their fire insurance, based on the high ratings of the Mayer Fire Department.
After further discussion, the council voted 4-0 to approve the purchase of the new fire truck. Councilmember Erick Boder was not present.
In another matter, the council approved a compost site lease agreement with Dale Denn. The council set a term of five years for the agreement and limited the amount of material to be stored on the site to 20,000 cubic yards. Instead of providing a letter of credit, Denn will deposit $2,500 into an escrow account each year.
While the site will be open to Mayer residents, Denn said he did not expect to have many commercial haulers using the site this year as most of those contracts have already been secured.
Denn will inventory the site and get it cleaned up and organized. The city will not allow organics composting at the site, which had caused some previous complaints.
The council agreed to review the arrangement on an annual basis.