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Board of Works sign letter of intent to purchase three new ambulances, new fire truck

City of Shelbyville Fire Chief Tony Logan brought purchase letters of intent to the Board of Works and Public Safety meeting Tuesday morning to secure three new ambulances and a new ladder truck to replace aging emergency vehicles in the city’s fleet.

By signing letters of intent to purchase today, the city secures the price of all four vehicles. Financing will be determined at a later date. The letter of intent just gets the city in line to receive new emergency vehicles in the next 12-16 months.

Each ambulance is currently priced at $249,000 apiece with the costs expected to rise later this year. The same vehicles cost the city $190,000 when purchased 3-4 years ago.

The ladder truck that will reside at Fire Station No. 2 on the city’s southeast side has a production cost of $1,007,000. Logan was informed by the Florida manufacturer that the price would be rising again, quite possibly as soon as today.

The city currently has five ambulances in its fleet – three that are in service and two as reserves. The frontline ambulances are typically rotated out of service every 3-4 years.

Logan informed the board Tuesday that the fire department will soon have three ambulances in service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The three ambulances in service are reaching 100,000 miles, according to Logan. Once the new ambulances arrive in approximately 12 months, Logan intends to keep the best two of the three in service and put them in reserve. The third ambulance and the two currently in reserve will be sold.

By signing the letter of intent today, Logan estimated the city was saving at least $75,000 in purchase costs and financing of the new vehicles.

“I don’t see the city saving money waiting,” he said. “It seems more prudent to do it now.”

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun, who is one of three members of the Board of Works, agreed.

“I think this is the best option for us,” he said.

The city’s current ladder truck is 14 years old and at 105,000 miles. It had a tandem rear axle and a 105-foot steel ladder mounted on top.

The new truck would have a single rear axle, which will allow for the truck to turn without causing as much damage to the tires. With the tandem axle, the tires tend to skid around turns and wear down quicker.

The ladder will be aluminum on the new truck which lessens the overall weight load of the vehicle.

Once the new ladder truck arrives, the old ladder truck will be put in reserve status and the fleet’s ladder truck with the aerial bucket will be taken out of service.

In other board business:

  • The resignation of firefighter/paramedic Craig Morningstar was accepted. A member of the department since 1989, his retirement will be official in March.
  • Logan asked the board to approve the hiring of Connersville firefighter/emergency medical technician Zach Ernstes, who lives in Arlington, Indiana, to replace Morningstar. Ernstes’ hiring was approved contingent on completing the department’s hiring process.
  • An order to appear was issued for the owner of 102 N. Vine St. The nuisance property was addressed in 2021, according to Plan Commission director Adam Rude, but has been neglected once again.
  • City attorney Jennifer Meltzer asked the board to approve the purchase of .194 acres the city owns to Jesse Eads, an abutting property owner. Eads was the only person to bid on the property located near Jefferson Avenue and Third St.