SOUTH BRUNSWICK – After an approval by voters, the Board of Fire Commissioners of South Brunswick Township Fire District No. 2 will continue the purchase process for a new fire truck.
On Dec. 16, through a special election, the board sought support for a new aerial tower ladder fire truck to replace an aging tower ladder that has become increasingly expensive to maintain and operate.
Specifically, the commissioners asked for authorization to purchase the replacement fire truck for an amount not exceeding $1.95 million and to secure lease-purchase financing relative to the purchase, according to information provided by Fire District Coordinator Scott Smith.
The final results of the election were received on Jan. 10 from the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office. There were a total of 668 “yes” votes and a total of 76 “no” votes.
The next step will be to advertise for bids to purchase the truck via lease-purchase financing, Smith said. Once the winning bid is approved, the commissioners will seek approval from the New Jersey State Local Finance Board to proceed with the purchase of the truck. If the Local Finance Board approves the purchase, the commissioners can sign an agreement to formally order the truck, he said.
“There is no question the new truck will be a tremendous upgrade to our operation over our current tower ladder. The new truck will be easier to operate and maintain, greatly increasing our efficiency and saving valuable time at a fire when every second counts. We can’t thank the residents enough for approving the purchase of the new truck,” Smith said.
For the last year, a committee of six firefighters from the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department have been developing specifications for the new tower ladder fire truck, Scott explained. The committee recommends the purchase of a 100-foot mid-mount “Ascendant”-model aerial tower ladder, custom-built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Since the Board of Fire Commissioners had been anticipating the need to replace this piece of apparatus as part of its long-range capital planning process, they will use $1.1 million of existing reserve funds to substantially reduce the amount of required financing costs, Smith said in December. The fire district will then secure lease-purchase financing for the balance of the purchase costs not to exceed $850,000.
There is no tax rate increase expected from the lease-purchase of the truck.
The current truck has required over $66,000 in repairs since 2004, including nearly $18,000 in 2021 alone, Smith had said.
“Although we take a great deal of pride in keeping our equipment in top condition, our current aerial is a very specialized piece of apparatus that has required a great deal of maintenance,” Smith had said. “The new truck will be easier to maintain, resulting in less downtime and lower maintenance costs. It will weigh less, be more maneuverable, have greater reach, and be quicker and easier to set up and operate than our current aerial, increasing our efficiency and saving valuable minutes at a fire when every second counts.”
Fire District 2, which is protected by the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department, covers the Monmouth Junction, Dayton and Deans sections of the township.
The Board of Fire Commissioners adopted their 2022 budget for the fire district, with voter approval being sought at the fire district election coming up on Feb. 19. The 2022 budget calls for the same tax rate as realized in 2021, meaning no increase for taxpayers this year, Smith said.