By SHELLY WILKISON
Commissioners of the Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase a $510,200 pumper truck they say will enable firefighters to better serve the community.
For several months, the Board of Commissioners has been discussing the need for an additional pumper truck, and the fiscal 2012 budget adopted last week included allocations for related expenses. But a vote on a resolution in Tuesday’s special meeting made the purchase official.
The Pierce PUC Pumper, which will be built in Wisconsin, will be delivered by mid-spring or early summer, said Chief Mark McAdams.
Financed under a lease-purchase agreement with Oshkosh Capital, WCESD #4 will make a down payment of $125,000 and annual payments for 10 years beginning in January 2014. The vehicle was financed at an interest rate of about 6 percent, said McAdams.
As part of the Board’s decision to acquire the apparatus, commissioners agreed to move $125,000 from the Fund Balance in a money market account to make the down payment.
Board President Dean Andrews said $90,000 of the $125,000 payment are proceeds from the sale of a rescue truck, which was sold earlier this year.
McAdams said the new truck, which will be built especially for WCESD #4, will become the frontline response vehicle moving the department’s current pumper engine acquired in 2002 to a backup position.
Population growth in the fire district has prompted the need for additional apparatus. Having a second pumper will enable the department to cover its territory without depending so much on mutual aid from area fire departments. Regularly, neighboring departments are called on to assist Liberty Hill when local firefighters are already dispatched to other calls.
By having a second engine, the department also has the ability to improve firefighter training, McAdams said.
He said the life expectancy on the current Spartan Pumper Engine 1 is 15-20 years, but rough roads and area terrain has taken a toll on the vehicle.
The new truck will be equipped with an improved suspension, in addition to other features that enhance firefighters’ ability to respond more effectively in emergencies.
The pumper will hold 1,000 gallons of water, two types of foam, a hose reel, improved technology, and will be equipped to “pump and roll,” McAdams said. The truck will be able to move while pumping water, which is important when fighting fires along roadways.
McAdams said the new vehicle will also have more space to store firefighting equipment and will have improved lighting systems.
The department used the County’s Buy Board to acquire the best price on the apparatus, McAdams said.
WCESD #4 will make the final payment on the 2002 Spartan Pumper Engine 1 in fiscal 2012.
Engine 1 is deployed on the majority of major calls, said Assistant Chief Chancy Bizzell. When the new truck is delivered, the Spartan will move to reserve status where it will be used on call backs for staffing in the case of multiple emergencies, and for training purposes.
Additional fire suppression vehicles currently owned by the District include an International Brush Truck used to fight wild land fires; a Ford F550 Squad, which is a multi-use vehicle used to provide quicker response to wild land fires, rescues and some medical calls; an International Tender, which holds 3,500 gallons of water and is used as the water supply vehicle in cases where there are no fire hydrants.