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Mendham Boro Approves Bid For New Fire Truck

Payment plans and wheels are still up in the air for new ladder truck.

The thrill of opening a new toy fire truck on Christmas morning wasn’t exactly in the air at the Mendham Borough meeting of the mayor and council on Monday night, but the fact remains officials approved a bid that will provide a new ladder truck to the town. The total cost of the new truck is listed at $927,569.

“We are awarding the bid to Pierce Manufacturing, who is the lowest responsible bidder,” said Councilman Brad Badal.

There were two other bids that, while technically lower, were disqualified.

“The first bidder did not give us the length ladder we requested and the specifications of the truck made it so it would not fit in the firehouse,” Badal said. “The second bidder would not give us a five-year warranty. They would only go two years.”

The size of the ladder was an issue for the fire department, who wanted the new truck to be as much of a benefit to the town as possible.

“The biggest thing for us is the horizontal reach. Which for us is kind of a big deal,” said Mendham Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Nelson. “That extra four feet sometimes makes or breaks what we can do.”

According to Nelson, the fire department approved of the Pierce bid.

“This is as close as you can get to what we think can do the town the best benefit and make our jobs easier for us,” Nelson said.

While the council approved commission of the truck, there were two cost-related factors still up in the air. The first was an installment plan that has the potential to save the borough a bundle.

“There are significant savings to be had, approximately $20,000, if there were progress payments made,” Badal said. “I’ve spoken to the finance committee and I think it would be advantageous to us.”

The details of those payments would be worked out at the next meeting of the finance committee. There was also the issue of wheels for the new truck. Badal said the truck was to have aluminum wheels included, but they could received a $4,000 credit if they went to steel wheels.

“The wheels are pretty much, I would say, interchangeable,” Nelson said. “Aluminum wheels are a little lighter and they’re easier to clean and are maintenance free. Steel wheels we need to sand a repaint every few years.”

Council member Veronica Daly said she didn’t know if wheel maintenance was something the department should be engaged in.

“How many hours does it take to sand and repaint the wheels? Don’t we have better things for the fire department to do?” Daly said. “We’re short on volunteers as it is.”

Council President John Andrus suggested the Nelson take the wheel request back to the fire department to see if they wanted to pay for the aluminum wheels.

“I will go back to the fire department and see what they say,” Nelson said.  

jefco348 December 19, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I am not ranting.I am stating a fact that the piece of equipment in question is in perfect condition.In times when money is tight there is no reason to spend other peoples money.I stated earllier that if the Ladder truck was in disrepair and unable to perform than your point is valid.The days of spending recklessly are over,if we dont need a NEW ladder truck ,than we can save money.Perhaps you could tell me what is wrong with the "old" truck.
TJ Brady December 19, 2012 at 09:37 PM
First of all the old truck is not going to FDNY or Chicago. Their apparatus is custom made, most of the time, with equipment and specs that haven't even been seen by today’s fire service. They are innovators in our world and wouldn't waste their time with a small town department’s 1992 ladder truck. The truck would most likely go to a department that is in dire need of a truck and doesn’t have the means to buy a new truck. Secondly, Mendham’s Ladder is an earlier 90’s model so even if it didn’t run a single fire in its 20 plus years (which it has run its fair share) it would need to be replaced for a number of reasons. Below are some of those reasons….
TJ Brady December 19, 2012 at 09:38 PM
- Increased safety features made mandatory by the National Fire Protection Association that would ensure that firefighters are safe in the cab of the truck while responding to emergencies. Firefighters safety should be number one, especially when that men and women risking their lives to help the citizens of Mendham have a family that prays he/she comes home when the calls done. - Increased ladder length- Mendham is going from a 75’ ladder to a 105’ ladder. The added 30’ is crucial, especially in Mendham, where the houses are extremely far off the road and drivers sometimes have to use some ingenuity to maneuver the trucks close enough to the house to be useful. - Finding replacement parts for a 1992 truck. Most manufactures have changed their design since the 90’s making it harder to repair the truck causing extended “out of service” times making the truck useless and unavailable to run to calls. - The fire service has changed immensely since the 90’s so some of the equipment or specifications of the truck have become obsolete and need to be updated for the wellbeing of the public. - Finally, from what I hear the truck is, in fact, in disrepair and falling apart. I could go on all day but I won’t.
TJ Brady December 19, 2012 at 09:38 PM
While I understand your concern about the hefty price tag understand this. Pierce is a top notch manufacturer so the truck will last a long time. 1 million dollars extended over the 10-20 years the truck will last is well worth the upfront cost. Mendham could be like some other departments that run a lot more calls and replace their truck every 5 years but they aren’t. They are building a truck to last and have the best interest of the public in mind. You may complain about the amount of money that it cost’s but think about the men and women who operate that truck. They are putting their lives on the line to save YOU! Even if that piece of equipment saves one life it is well worth the investment. That’s one more father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother, or grandfather that gets to spend another day with their family. With that said, this is a great, progressive move by the Mendham Borough Fire Department and I commend them for trying to provide a top notch service to its citizens. Their lives are well worth the investment.
Russ Crespolini December 26, 2012 at 09:02 PM
A previous comment mentioned councilman Brad Badal having a connection to the company who won the bid to build the fire truck for Mendham Borough. The post was removed as it was inaccurate.

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