Committee Revisits Fire Department’s Vehicle Request

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Administrative Services Committee reconsidered the fire department’s request for a new vehicle.

Alderman Mike Myers (R-Second Ward) requested further discussion regarding the request of a 4X4 pickup truck with plow for use by the department.

At the Oct. 5 committee meting, Joe Perry, fire chief, requested authorization to purchase the vehicle, on state contract, for the fire department.

First Assistant Chief Jeff McCrobie explains the need for the department's new vehicle.
First Assistant Chief Jeff McCrobie explains the need for the department

This is to replace the 1994 Suburban, which was deemed unsuitable for road operations by the DPW, he noted.

The department is going to sell off one of its engines as it is getting a new one, the chief said.

Funds from that action should be more than enough to cover the cost of the new vehicle, he noted, adding the city could get more if they used a brokerage site instead of an auction site.

The committee gave the request a favorable recommendation, provided the department used a brokerage site to sell the old vehicle and the revenue was enough to cover the new vehicle.

However, the resolution was defeated when it made it to the council floor last week.

First Assistant Chief Jeff McCrobie made a case for the vehicle Monday night.

“It’s not used just for plowing the driveways at the fire stations,” McCrobie told the committee.

It’s used for pumping details, sometimes it’s taken on inspections, in bad weather it’s used for emergency responses to clear snow allowing EMTs to get to where they have to go, and several other duties, he explained.

“I asked Mike Smith (acting DPW commissioner) if we do not have a truck to plow with this year if it would be a burden on him. He said I was free to say that, yes, it would be a burden on him to keep our lot the way we’re accustomed to keeping it,” McCrobie said.

It’s kind of “an everything vehicle” for the department, McCrobie added; “we’ve been without one, and it’s really kind of strapped us for all those reasons.”

The price of the vehicle the department has in mind is $32,660, he said.

The department is also looking to purchase two used ambulances. A 2003 would cost about $15,000 and a 2002 would be about $11,000.

One of the department’s current ambulances is out of service (failed inspection) and is going to auction, McCrobie said.

The fleet is getting older, he said, adding one ambulance has spent more time in the shop than on emergency calls.

McCrobie believes that the revenue from the auctions would be enough to purchase the pickup and at least one of the used ambulances.

The department is doing what it can to raise funds toward the purchase, the assistant chief said.

“We hitting everywhere we can go,” he told the committee. “We understand that a brand new one is not feasible. But if we don’t do something, sooner or later, all these used ones are just going to keep dropping out and we’re going to be in trouble as far as the ambulance service goes.”

The DPW is trying to keep them together as best they can, he said.

The cost of the vehicles continued to make the councilors cautious about spending money during tough financial times

“It’s kind of pricey for a plow truck,” Councilor Shawn Walker (R-Fourth Ward) said referring to the pickup.

“It’s more than just a plow truck,” the assistant chief reiterated. “We’re not spending this kind of money for a truck just to plow driveways with. It’s a utility truck.”

Procedurally, to bring back a failed resolution it has to be moved by someone who voted on the prevailing side.

However, the committee, on the suggestion of the mayor, decided to forward a new resolution (just to sell the fire engine) to the full council.

“Then, we can always go for another resolution after that,” Mayor Randy Bateman said.