Forks Township getting $1.4M fire truck
A $1.4 million fire truck is expected to be delivered to the Forks Township Fire Department in about a year under a financing plan that uses money from the township’s utility funds.
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the township supervisors approved buying the truck and paying for it with the self-funded borrowing plan.
Chief Chuck Gallagher said the vehicle to be replaced is a 26-year-old, 75-foot ladder truck.
“It was made by LTI, which was a Pennsylvania company, but they are now out of business,” he said.
Finding parts for the LTI truck has been difficult, coupled with failures of nearly all the truck’s hydraulic equipment, he said.
The new truck will have a 100-foot ladder and made by Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisconsin. Gallagher said the truck is a more appropriate size for the new structures in the township.
When the current truck was bought 25 years ago, the 75-foot ladder was adequate, but since then, he said, the 100-foot ladder would be needed for many of the township’s new buildings.
The new truck is expected to arrive in August 2020.
No banks or lending institutions will be needed to buy the truck because the plan is to self-fund using township money raised through a one-time charge for homes and businesses that connect to the sewer system.
“When a building is built, they buy capacity in the sewer system,” township Finance Director Jim Farley said. “That money is accumulated and used to make sewer repairs or for equipment needed to maintain the sewer system by the township sewer department.”
The fee is based on how much capacity is requested, he said.
The township would borrow from the tap-in fund, which contains about $2 million, then pay back the fund, he said.
Because 85% of the township’s sewer lines are new, he said, it would not be unsound to borrow from the fund, as repairs or replacements won’t be due for many years.
Farley said after the meeting the money would be transferred from the tap-in fund to the township’s general fund account. It would then be paid back in yearly payments of $80,000-$85,000 at about a 1½% interest rate for 20 years.
He added the loan could be paid off sooner and the interest rate is based on how much interest the tap-in fund money has been earning in what would be similar to a savings account.
Charles Malinchak is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.