The Payson Town Council last week approved spending $500,000 for a new fire truck for the recently completed third fire station.
The cash-strapped town funded the purchase with the last scraps of the same voter-approved, 2003 bond issue that paid for construction of the not-yet-opened station off Tyler Parkway.
Instead of ordering a custom-designed pumper truck, the town used an unusual bid process to pick up an already built, but unused, 2009 Crimson Fire Apparatus Custom Pumper in Houston. The engine will cost $440,000, with another $60,000 for equipment.
The fire department recommended the purchase, even though the already-built truck had less storage space and a different foam-spraying system than called for in the original specifications.
The department decided to avoid a roughly nine-month delay by buying an already built surplus fire engine from Texas without competitive bidding, taking advantage of rules that allow towns to buy such excess equipment that had been built through someone else’s competitive bidding process.
In this case, the department used a nationwide cooperative joint purchasing system.
“The Payson Fire Department apparatus committee has conducted extensive research on apparatus that are close to meeting our design criteria and are also available in a compressed time frame,” Fire Chief Marty deMasi wrote in a memo to the council. “We have determined that the Crimson Fire Apparatus custom pumper is the best quality, best equipped, in our price range and able to be delivered by August 2011.”
That’s when the town will terminate its contract with Hellsgate Fire Department, which for a contract of about $160,000 annually has been providing coverage in the area that will be served by Payson’s new, $1.5 million fire station off Tyler Parkway.