Commission approves used fire truck purchase


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Commission on Monday unanimously approved the purchase of a used fire truck at a cost significantly less than the price of a new one.

“I really like to see that we are looking at used vehicles to get us through in the meantime when we are struggling financially,” Commissioner Jessica Hanley said.

In past years, the Marquette Fire Department has used two 2004 Pierce Arrow XT fire trucks in daily operations, according to a background document from the city. However, within the last six months, both trucks were removed from service due to frame corrosion and cracking issues. Those trucks were included in the motor pool capital outlay replacement schedule scheduled to be replaced in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years.

One new truck has been ordered, but the city will not receive it for at least 12 months. A used truck was purchased in June to replace the first pumper truck that had failed.

Staff recommended buying a second used pumper to minimize the hours put on the aging aerial truck until the new pumper truck is in service. Purchasing a second used truck also will push back the need for an additional new pumper for another five to seven years.

The truck that will be purchased is a 2001 Pierce Enforcer pumper paramedic vehicle for sale by Action Truck & Equipment Inc., based in Miami. The truck is clean with medical cabinets and extra storage, and is set up for foam. Since it already is used as a paramedic unit, there would be minimum time involved in setting it up for city use.

The purchase price of the truck is not to exceed $48,000.

“We do have to go down and physically inspect it, and then would make arrangements to bring the truck back to Marquette as well,” City Manager Karen Kovacs said. “This gives us the ability to go ahead and either purchase the truck, if it is something that is available, and if not, we would not purchase it and would come back to the commission for another alternative if possible.”

Kovacs indicated that the price of a new truck is about $800,000, a price that is scheduled to increase 10 to 15 percent in the next few months and continue to rise.

“Our first and foremost responsibility as a local government is ensuring that we have a safe and livable community,” Commissioner Evan Bonsall said.

Fire service is a critical component of that, not only in the city of Marquette but the entire region, he noted.

He also pointed out that the purchase of a used truck is fiscally responsible.

“We’ve got a little over $20 million in an annual general fund budget, and an $800,000 to $1.5 million purchase is a significant chunk of that,” Bonsall said. “These are the difficult decisions that we have to make as a city — playing that financial balancing game.”

Mayor Cody Mayer pointed out the purchase of a used truck, depending on the lifespan of the truck, is $7,000 per year versus a cost of $800,000 to $1.5 million for a new truck.

“So that, financially, makes a lot of sense,” Mayer said.

DPW, utilities labor union wages increased

The commission also unanimously approved a 2 percent increase in Department of Public Works and utilities employees’ wages, with a one-time payment of $625 to each bargaining unit member. The increase and payment, which was effective on Monday, equates to an estimated $83,000.

The commission on Dec. 13, 2021, had OK’d a new three-year agreement with the DPW and Utilities Employees’ Chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1852. The agreement included a 2 percent wage increase for the first year and wage reopeners this year and in 2023.

The commission, DPW and the union have now agreed on the wage increase for the second year with the one-time payment.

“I really appreciate our AFSCME bargaining unit for DPW and utilities employees being willing to come to an agreement with the city on this wage increase,” Bonsall said. “I know that there were a lot of discussions that took place, and hard work and negotiations, on both sides.

“I truly believe that at this time that this is the absolute best the city could do, given the fiscal restraints that we are facing.”

He expressed appreciation for the equitable compromise that was reached.

“They are the ones, really, who are maintaining kind of the roots, or the bones, of our city,” Bonsall said. “When you turn on your faucet at home, when you drive to work, whether you’re driving on a new road that’s been repaved or you’re driving on a road the day after a big snowstorm that’s safe for you, and maybe your children or your spouse to drive with you on, it’s because of the work that these folks put in for our community.”

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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