Forks Town­ship get­ting $1.4M fire truck

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Charles Mal­in­chak

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.

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