By Ralph Echtinaw
Fire board members voted unanimously Dec. 6 to buy an F-550 truck chassis from LaFontaine Ford of Lansing for $58,873.
The truck will replace the St. Louis Area Fire Department’s 2002 Ford F-550, which is used for medical scenes and traffic accidents. Delivery is expected in nine months.
Fire Chief Bill Coty said LaFontaine Ford was the lowest of four bidders. The others were Barry Motor Company of Iowa ($59,018), Borgman Ford of Grand Rapids ($59,500) and Ed Koehn Ford of Greenville ($61,664).
“There were a lot of dealers who had no interest in giving us a price because they knew they couldn’t get a chassis,” Coty told Fire Board members Kevin Beeson (Pine River Township supervisor), Greg Mikek (Bethany Township supervisor), Carmen Bajena (Jasper Township supervisor), Kurt Giles (St. Louis city manager) and Bobbi Marr (St. Louis finance director).
“Ed Koehn Ford, although they did provide us a bid, said ‘Don’t go with our bid. We won’t get you a truck. But here’s what the price is. If there’s anybody in the state who can get you a truck it’s LaFontaine Ford out of Lansing.”
Coty and company now must decide how to make the new truck ready for service. They have two choices. Refurbish the add-on storage compartments on the F-550 being replaced and install them on the new truck. Or buy new add-on storage compartments.
Coty said CSI Emergency Apparatus of Grayling told him that going with new storage compartments won’t cost much more than refurbishing the old compartments. He expects to have a recommendation for the Fire Board at its February meeting.
Another advantage of going with new storage compartments is that the truck being replaced will be complete and thus have a higher resale value.
“We are currently not leaning in any direction, as we are waiting for the return of bids and appraisal of our existing rescue truck,” Coty said. “Our staff will determine the best long-term, fiscally responsible plan for our community.”