February 28th, 2024

Fire truck buy moved up due to backlog

By COLLIN GALLANT on June 8, 2023.

Medicine Hat will move up a budget item to purchase two new fire trucks in the next budget cycle in order to deal with major backlogs in procuring the specialized equipment. (Pictured) Fire crews attend a house fire on the Southwest Hill in the winter of 2023.--News File Photo


City Hall will add the purchase of two fire trucks originally set for 2024 and 2027 to the current budget cycle, but doesn’t expect to get them until years from now.

That’s the point, say administrators who told council Monday that the window for delivery of the specialized equipment has lengthened due to supply chain problems.

Ordering them now would help hit expected in-service dates, and by bundling the purchase, would save the city about $460,000 in expected inflation, said public service division head Brian Stauth.

“Fire engines are now the longest build time of any of our large fleet,” he said, noting the last engine purchase was complete in six months. “In the budget process, we expected a one-year lead time, but that has expanded to three. It’s an extremely long period. By moving money from 2024 and 2027 into 2023, we get a price guarantee.”

The cost of one engine rose by about $250,000 and the total cost for each is $1.5 million.

Since the second engine doesn’t appear in the approved list of fleet purchases in the 2023-24 time frame, the city’s purchasing department can’t technically make the purchase, thereby requiring Monday’s night’s budget amendment.

Funds come from the city’s fleet reserve budget but is not expected to be spent until they are delivered, said Stauth.

“They’re already planned purchases and we’re not (shortening) the lifespan of any of our vehicles,” said Coun. Andy McGrogan. “We’re ordering ahead.”

Council approved the amendment unanimously.

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