Monday evening, Fire Chief Jason Diehl asked the Missoula City Council for almost $1 million to buy a new ladder truck because the boom structure on an old truck had too much wear and it wasn't safe to operate.
The new ladder truck is going to cost $966,225. The city is going to finance it, in hopes that a special district will pass on this year’s ballot. The council explained that the point of the special district is to cover costs like this.
If the special district doesn't pass they will pay for the cost of the new truck with a general obligation bond.
Fire officials are relieved that city council voted in favor of financing the new ladder truck.
The department has two ladder trucks, but the International Organization for Standardization recommends they have three trucks based on the size of Missoula.
Diehl explained that he feels comfortable using two, but getting cut down to just one isn’t acceptable.
The ladder truck has been around for 24 years. The city and fire department have been discussing the purchase of a new one for years. The problem is they haven't had the money, so they have been pushing back the purchase and just kept updating their current trucks.
On Tuesday last week, the fire chief had to pull one of the ladder trucks because it wasn’t safe to operate.
"Basically deteriorating in some other areas, but we've managed to keep it on the roads the last few years. This is a part that could possibly be fixed, but it would be a significant investment to repair it and then you still have the rest of the vehicle that's pretty much deteriorating,” said Diehl.
He explained that even though they are getting the truck they will have to purchase additional equipment for the vehicle. He estimates it will cost around $40,000.
The financing for the new truck will be a 12-year loan with a 2.6% interest rate. They estimate the payments to be $95,000 or $100,000 annually. The city is trying to extend the loan to 20 years.