The St. Michael City Council was recently given an opportunity to tour its newest authorized purchase - a new rescue truck that will service the city's fire department for at least the next decade.
The truck, which cost more than $200,000, replaces the aging rescue truck St. Michael Fire Department firefighters were using for medical calls and assistance requests. That vehicle will be broken down, and, most likely, donated or sold at a generous price to the St. Michael-Albertville School District, said City Administrator Steven Bot.
"They're in a situation where the food service program is in need of a new vehicle, and that truck, the way it is designed, might work very well," Bot said. "It only has about 15,000 miles on it, but the technology isn't there, nor the equipment, to serve today's fire department."
Enter the new truck, which has a command center for firefighters arriving on scene to coordinate communications, set-ups for SCBA (breathing apparatus) gear needed for smoke-filled situations, and more space for a larger crew.
Chief Steve Hosch said the truck fills a definite need for the department.
Funding for the vehicle will come from the city's general fund, and would be spread out over at least three years. However, Bot said, the city would use Local Government Assistance funding from the State of Minnesota, if the new funding formula holds. In that case, the city stands to receive more than $230,000 from the state in the next biennium, should the current economic plan passed by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature hold steady.
"Let's just say we're hopeful that we can do it this way, but we do have a contingency plan," Bot said. "We realize the first thing cut in times of economic uncertainty is that local aid, so we're not being naive. We know that's a possibility, so the truck is including in our [preliminary] 2014 budget. But using that local assistance to purchase a vehicle for our city's first responders seemed like an ideal way to use that funding."