Farmington Public Safety gets creative with ladder truck purchase

If all goes well, a $90,000 ladder truck will roll in just a few months from its current home in Decorah, Iowa to the Farmington Public Safety Department.

City officials on Monday authorized a $9,000 refundable deposit on a 1999 Spartan LTI 75-foot aerial truck that will replace an aging rig. Public Safety Director Frank Demers said the department “literally searched the country” to find it. The truck meets the department’s requirements for pump capacity and water storage and has 16,346 miles on it.

Demers said the truck also has a “pre-piped waterway,” which brings water up through the ladder. In a house fire, for example, the ladder could be set over the building and water would roll over the roof.

“It is incredibly instrumental in terms of aerial firefighting,” Demers said.

The truck will go through several rounds of inspections before the purchase is finalized. If the sale falls through, the department will resume a search of the resale market.

The total expenditure, which includes raising the department’s garage door to accommodate the height of the truck, is $112,000. Demers said unspent 2016/2017 funds, postponing the hiring of a new officer and the purchase of one patrol vehicle will cover the cost.

The city in 2010 spent $275,000 on a new ladder truck, with a federal grant covering the vast majority of the cost. Demers said now only two Michigan departments receive grant funds each year.

Officials were also asked to consider establishing a public safety apparatus replacement fund to save up for eventual truck replacement. The old rig cannot be sold to another department, Demers said, adding “You would be surprised at the folks out there who would want to purchase this for the novelty.”