Fire department seeks better deal on new engine

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Fire Department has secured most of the money it needs to purchase a half-million-dollar fire engine but wants permission from the City Council to find a better deal.

According to an agenda, the fire department will seek approval from the council at its meeting Monday to enter into a cooperative purchasing agreement to get the best possible deal on a replacement fire engine. The department wants to replace its 30-year-old Engine 4 with a newer truck that can hold 3,000 gallons as opposed to the current truck’s 2,000-gallon capacity, Assistant Fire Chief Art Zern said.

The agreement would allow the department to work with government agencies in other states that specialize in government contract proposals to secure more competitive pricing.

“Based on economics of scale, because they are national contracts, the prices will be lower,” Zern said.

The department estimates a new truck to cost $550,000, but the final number could be lower should the department seek outside help, according to city documents. A recently purchased ambulance was $5,000 less because it was bought through a purchasing agreement with a Chicago metro-wide cooperative, Zern said.

Because of the large amount of water it can hold, Engine 4, a Spartan pumper, is primarily used for fires in rural areas that lack access to fire hydrants. Water capacity for the department’s other two engines are 1,000 gallons each.

Zern said because the rural areas in DeKalb County have grown since 1989, he needs a more reliable truck that can hold more water.

“It’s running into a lot of maintenance issues,” Zern said. “It’s significantly older than it should be.”

At the top of the fire department’s wish list is a Rosenbauer pumper-tender engine, and it’s seeking approval from the City Council to enter an agreement with one of two cooperatives who contract with Rosenbauer America. The two cooperatives on Monday’s City Council agenda are the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s HGACBuy, a Texas-based cooperative, and Sourcewell, a Minnesota-based cooperative.

Zern said he does not have a preference for either cooperative.

“We have to see what’s going to fit more in line of what we’re looking for,” Zern said.

The city of Sycamore and the Sycamore Fire Protection District will provide $365,000 of the projected $500,000 needed for the engine. The rest will come from the sale of Engine 4 and current and future Sycamore Fire Department capital allowances, according to Monday’s City Council agenda.