Posted on

Abby, Colby councils approve fire truck

The cities of Abbotsford and Colby have signed off on the purchase of a new fire engine for the Central Fire and EMS District, which means the proposal is more than halfway to becoming official.

Each of the seven municipalities that make up the fire district will be given a chance to vote on the truck purchase, but it only takes municipalities representing at least 66.6 percent of the district’s property value to approve the proposal.

The city of Abbotsford makes up 29 percent of the district’s property value, while the city of Colby accounts for another 17 percent, for a total of 46 percent.

If the village of Dorchester and at least one of the four townships in the district also vote to approve the purchase, it will become official. Dorchester’s village board meets March 10, and the town boards in Colby, Holton, Mayville and Hull all meet over the next week.

The district board voted to recommend the purchase of a Pierce Pumper truck, at a cost of $453,859, at its last monthly meeting on Feb. 17.

Abbotsford’s city council was the first to approve the purchase, with all eight members voting in favor of buying the Pierce truck at their Monday meeting.

The unanimous decision came after a brief discussion with district chief Joe Mueller, battalion chief John Austin in Abbotsford and chief Justin Ingersoll, another district officer.

Mueller said the recommended truck represents a compromise between the district board and the firefighters.

“It’s what the district needs,” he said. “It’s not everything the firemen would have wanted, but it’s a compromise, and it’ll serve the district well. It’ll be around longer than any of us will, because it should last the district 25 to 30 years real easy.”

When Ald. Roger Weideman asked what exactly the firefighters gave up when discussing the purchase with the district board, Mueller said they didn’t sacrifice anything necessary.

“It doesn’t really affect the workability of the truck,” Mueller said. “Some of the items would have just made it more convenient.”

At Colby’s city council meeting on Tuesday, the vote was also unanimous to purchase the Pierce truck.

Ald. Nancy O’Brien, who serves as treasurer of the fire board, said the district has the money in savings to pay for the new truck, so it’s not asking any of the municipalities for additional financial contributions.

“We just need your approval,” she said.

If approved, Mueller said the new truck should be ready by this time next year with any luck. Pierce will be building the truck from ground up at its facility in Appleton, so no other manufacturers will be involved, he said.