Back in February of 2006, the District of Sooke decided to purchase a new aerial fire truck for $580,967 plus another $11,000 for additional small equipment for the truck.
To pay for the cost of the new fire truck each residential homeowner and business would pay $14.35 per year for residential taxpayers and $104 per year for businesses.
At the time, it was stated that the new aerial truck would replace Engine 204 which had reached the end of its 20-year life span. It did not meet pump-rating capacity requirements for 2005 and was in need of approximately $30,000 in repairs. Up to that point the District of Sooke had leased its fire apparatus which ran at about $4,800 per month. At the time it was also said that the approval to purchase vs leasing would have to pass through the alternate approval process and if money was borrowed it would have to be approved by the Inspector of Municipalities.
Taxpayers can now reach into their wallets once again as the district is purchasing another fire truck. This one is not new, it will be a used 2006 E-One Rescue Pumper with a price tag of $229,000 plus delivery charges. This new truck will once again replace Engine 204.
Fire Chief Steve Sorensen says Engine 204 suffered wear and tear when it was sent to Kelowna to help fight the fires, although money was paid for its use. If Engine 204 was repaired and upgraded it would have cost the district $30,000-$40,000 and would still not be considered a front line vehicle. The vehicle, at most, said Sorensen has four more years of life.
“We would be putting a whole lot of money into a truck that qualifies for vintage plates,” said Sorensen. He also said they were not looking for any additions to the fleet.
Sorensen told council that used fire vehicles, like the one they wanted, did not come up for sale very often and they had to jump on the opportunity as two of the three he saw for sale were already sold. Councillor Dave Bennett agreed and said time was of the essence if they wanted to get the 2006 pumper truck.
Money for the new rig will come from general reserve funds which CAO Evan Parliament says is there, as there is not enough money in the fire reserve fund.
“We would be making a loan to the fire reserve fund,” said Parliament.
“We’re not borrowing any money, we’re just shifting it around,” said Sorensen. “We’re taking $250,000 now to save money later.”
The recommendation to purchase the used rescue pumper was passed by council.