The Topeka Fire Department has been instructed to put together specifications so that the town, along with Eden and Clearspring townships, can seek bids for a new fire truck.
At the end of a special meeting held Monday afternoon, the town board voted to recommend a new fire/rescue truck, while the two township trustees voted to seek bids on a “quint” truck, a combination of an engine and an aerial truck with a 75 ft. ladder.
The fire truck committee will write specifications for a quint truck, which will be advertised for bids.
During Monday’s meeting, the board and trustees discussed the various options given at a previous meeting, which included purchasing a truck, either the quint or a fire/rescue truck, now, and setting a schedule to replace up to three other trucks over the next 16 years.
The board and trustees questioned which option would be better and more needed now, with firefighters noting they would pick the quint first over the fire/rescue truck.
At the earlier meeting, it was noted that a demo quint truck would be available, if the fire department was looking to purchase it before the end of the month. However, when asked, Fire Chief Stewart Bender and other firefighters noted that there would be some items on the demo truck that they would change if they could custom order the truck. It was suggested that, if the department was seeking a new quint, it should set the specifications to get a truck that will do exactly what they want. There was an estimated $125,000 difference between the demo truck and a custom truck.
Town attorney Bill Eberhard also cautioned the board and trustees on purchasing an already made truck, noting that while it is possible, it is very difficult given State Board of Accounts regulations on purchases of that size.
Funding for the new truck will be split equally between the town and two townships. Funding could come from cumulative fire funds, with any remaining amounts being financed.