SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The Board of Fire Commissioners of South Brunswick Township Fire District No. 2, and the members of the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department, ordered their new tower ladder fire truck.
The acquisition process started in October 2020 with the first meeting of a committee of six firefighters to develop the specifications for the new truck, according to information provided by Chief Scott Smith of the fire department.
Over the course of the next 11 months, the truck committee dedicated well over 100 man- hours on the project, according to the statement.
After reviewing the aerial models offered by several different manufacturers, the committee recommended the purchase of a 100-foot mid-mount aerial tower ladder, custom-built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin.
The new truck will replace an aging tower ladder currently in operation by the fire department.
After finalizing the specifications of the truck, the Board of Fire Commissioners held a special election on Dec. 16, 2021, to ask the residents of the fire district to approve the purchase via lease-financing. Although the cost of the truck was priced at approximately $1.7 million, voters were asked to authorize the purchase for an amount not exceeding $1.95 million due to possible cost increases for raw materials that could be added before the truck is ordered.
Voters approved the expenditure by a vote of 668 to 76.
After securing voter approval, the Board of Fire Commissioners advertised for financing bids and sent packages to 16 different financial institutions. Two bids were received back and the bid was awarded on Feb. 2 to Municipal Leasing Consultants for a 7-year period, according to the statement.
The awarding of the bid was made contingent upon receiving approval from the State of New Jersey’s Local Finance Board.
On March 9, members of the Board of Fire Commissioners and the fire district’s attorney attended the virtual meeting of the Local Finance Board, who reviewed the board’s application packet. The Local Finance Board unanimously approved the application, giving the fire district the final needed approval to formally place the order for the new truck, according to the statement.
The truck was ordered at a cost of $1,666,334.44 under the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) cooperative purchasing program, well under the $1.95 million that was approved by the voters in December, according to the statement. Use of the national co-op program results in a cost savings of approximately $45,000, as opposed to using a traditional bidding process.
The Board of Fire Commissioners has been anticipating the need to replace the existing tower ladder as part of its long-range capital planning process, and has been reserving funds as part of the annual budget process. The board will be financing $650,000 and will utilize $1.1 million in existing reserve funds for the balance of the cost and additional equipment to outfit the truck.
There was no increase in the tax rate for 2022 and there are no increases anticipated for the foreseeable future, according to the statement.
Currently, the fire district’s tax rate is amongst the lowest in both Middlesex County and the entire State of New Jersey.
“It has been a long, time-consuming process to get to the point where we could place the order for the new truck,” Smith said in the statement. “We are confident that the new truck will greatly increase our efficiency and level of service to the community for decades to come.”
Due to supply chain issues, build times for new fire trucks have increased greatly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Construction of the new truck is currently estimated by the manufacturer at 22-months, putting delivery in late 2023 to early 2024.
“Although we are disappointed that we have to wait almost two years to get the new truck, we are excited that we should have training completed and the truck in service in time to celebrate as part of our Department’s 100th anniversary in 2024,” Smith said in the statement.
Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department serves residents of Monmouth Junction, Dayton and Deans.
Anyone interested in serving their community as a volunteer firefighter should call 732-329-2001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.