Naugatuck aims to save by upgrading fleet now

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Naugatuck Fire Department’s Rescue Engine 6, which is set to be replaced in July 2023, can be seen at the east side firehouse at 581 May St. on Monday. Andreas Yilma Republican-American

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials plan to purchase a fire truck and six police cruisers in anticipation of a price increase and vehicle production delays.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously approved the early order of a Pierce Triple Combination Pumper from Firematic Supply Company of East Yaphank, N.Y. The new fire truck would replace the 1995 Rescue Engine 6 truck. The new apparatus costs $798,000, but its price is set to increase 7%, or about $55,860, on Feb. 1, Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

Officials plan to sign and send the contract before the beginning of next month, Fire Chief Paul Russell said.

Funds for the new truck will come from the general fund. The first payment will be due in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The funds will be paid through a 10-year lease with an estimated annual $83,000 payment and 4% interest rate. The new pumper truck would be scheduled to arrive in July 2023, controller Allyson Bruce said.

Fire trucks are supposed to be replaced after no more than 25 years. Engine 6 doesn’t have modern crash protection or any airbags, Russell said.

“Modern fire apparatus come with many additional safety features that the older vehicles do not have,” Russell said.

The borough board also unanimously approved a three-year lease of six police cruisers, another fire vehicle and an assessor’s office vehicle at an estimated cost of 456,000.

The fleet fund, which was put together in May 2020 to purchase police cruisers, fire and utility vehicles, is estimated to contain about a half-million dollars, Bruce said.

The police department’s longtime vendor, MHQ, encouraged all its municipal clients to secure orders now due to lead times taking up to six months for delivery, interim Police Chief Colin McAllister said.

Borough officials are hoping to get the six police cruisers and fire vehicle delivered in July, and shop around for the assessor’s vehicle before the end of the fiscal year, Bruce said.

The fire department came up with a fire vehicle replacement program in 2018 after it ended up with many fire trucks at the same time that were about 20 to 25 years old. An apparatus replacement committee, consisting of seven department members, made specifications for a motor and transmission to handle the borough’s hilly terrain, Russell said.

“That committee has spent hundreds of hours over the years making the specifications for the replacement fire apparatus,” he said.

Burgesses agreed ordering the fire truck was the direction to go.

“I think when we originally talked about this years ago, the price that was put on it was $822,000. So actually this price is very reasonable,” Burgess Rocky Vitale said at the meeting.

Burgess Fran Dambowski said the savings could help with the purchase of another vehicle.
“Basically we’re saving the price of a vehicle by going into it now,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer.”