Fire Department rescue squad truck funds approved

Village agrees to pick up a share of the town’s portion as payment schedule is bumped up
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Belgium Fire Department may get a new rescue squad truck sooner than expected.

By getting the town and village of Belgium to agree to pay for the vehicle by the end of the year, the department expects to have it delivered next fall.

But that requires paying for the vehicle sooner than anticipated.

Fire Chief Dan Birenbaum and Assistant Fire Chief Pat Wester approached the Town Board with their proposal on Dec. 6.

The department wants a Ford F150 chassis — most departments in the areas have Fords, Wester said —but Ford cut off bidding on its models on Nov. 22.

Ford isn’t taking orders on more chassis until January 2023, and then prices will likely be higher.

“These chassis are almost impossible to get,” Birenbaum said.

Vendors have access to some of the chassis. The department got proposals from two companies. Birenbaum and Wester didn’t want to reveal names.

The vendor they chose is offering the rescue squad truck for $212,728, lower than the original budget of $230,000.

The town’s portion of that, based on assessed property value, is $116,426.

If the department doesn’t commit to buying a vehicle by the end of the year, the vendor said the price would increase by $10,000 to $15,000, Birenbaum said. He also said the truck may not be delivered until the third quarter of 2023, Birenbaum said.

Paying up front also provides a $2,250 discount, he said.

“We don’t have $125,000 to write a check for a rescue squad,” Town Chairman Tom Winker said.

But the town agreed to pay $62,500 now. Officials mentioned using a portion of its American Recovery Plan Act money toward the purchase. The town has received $70,000 with another $70,000 expected to come next year. Of that, $19,000 is earmarked to upgrade the heating, ventilating and air conditioning units at the fire house.

Clerk Ginger Murphy said she could find the rest of the money in the budget.

The board approved the funding, 3-0.

Birenbaum and Wester on Monday approached the village with the same proposal.

The village had been saving money to pay for the rescue squad and can pay its share of $96,302.

Then the Village Board agreed to cover the rest of the town’s portion of $53,926, provided the town signs an agreement to pay the village back.

“We need a rescue squad and it won’t get any easier to pay for these things,” Trustee Rose Sauers said.

The town directed Village Attorney Gerry Antoine to draft an agreement between the village and town.

The town approved the funding, 7-0.

The new truck will replace the department’s 21-year-old vehicle.

The department presented the plan to replace the truck at its annual meeting in December attended by town and village officials.

The village agreed to pay for the vehicle while the town agreed in principle but wanted to discuss the issue at a town meeting with its residents before officially providing a stamp of approval.

In fall, the Town Board mentioned the purchase, and a handful of residents attending the meeting supported the plan.

The department’s vehicle replacement schedule calls for a new multipurpose vehicle to be replaced in 2024 for an estimated $70,000. It would replace a 20-year-old vehicle.

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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