Town OKs its share of cost as BFD hurries up to order truck

By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

 

The Belgium Town Board on Monday approved a memorandum of understanding to pay more than $50,000 for its portion of a new rescue squad truck back to the Village of Belgium.

Both municipalities had agreed to split the purchase of the truck based on assessed property value, but Belgium Fire Chief Dan Birenbaum and Assistant Chief Pat Wester, after researching the chassis market, asked for the money sooner than expected due to supply chain issues.

Payment by Jan. 1 reserved a Ford F150 chassis with delivery of the $212,728 rescue squad truck expected to be this fall.

That cost is lower than the original $230,000 estimate, but the money wasn’t originally expected to be required until this year.

Ford cut off bidding on its models Nov. 22 and isn’t taking new orders until 2023, when the prices will likely be higher.

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

The fire department found a vendor with access to a chassis, but the vendor needed the money sooner.

Paying up front will also shave $2,250 off the truck’s cost.

The town’s portion of the cost is $116,426. The Town Board last month said it could come up with $62,500 right away, but not the total amount.

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

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 firehouse.

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

The Village Board last month agreed to pay part of the town’s bill of $53,926 and asked Village Attorney Gerry Antoine to draft an agreement for the town to sign saying it would pay the money back.

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

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

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 September 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 meeting with its residents before officially giving its 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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