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Sole bid for fire trucks higher than expected

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The Columbus Fire Department will negotiate purchase prices for two new fire trucks around a budget approved by the city council after bids came in higher than expected.

The fire department wants to purchase a new pumper truck and a quint, which is a combination engine and ladder truck.

Although a bid for a contract to provide the trucks from Columbus-based Fire Service Inc. is almost $30,000 more than the council-approved price, the final price has some leeway, said Jeff Logston, city attorney and executive director of administration.

The total cost may either exceed the approved estimated amount by 5 percent — in this case, $62,500 — or by $5,000, whichever is higher, Logston said.

Because the bid is still within those guidelines, the additional funding would not need approval from the city council, he said.

Council members approved $1.25 million for the purchase last year — $500,000 for the pumper and $750,000 for the quint.

At Tuesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, only the $1,279,606 bid from Fire Service Inc. was submitted, although eight potential vendors had been contacted by the fire department.

The bid was $7,256 more than the allotted amount for the pumper and $22,350 more than the allotted amount for the quint.

The city can look for additional funding elsewhere to offset the costs or try to negotiate a price with the vendor, Logston said.

The fire department had planned to purchase the new pumper and quint last year, but those plans were put on hold when the city created bid specifications that were too specific and limited the ability for companies to submit bids.

Fire Chief Dave Allmon said companies planning to bid last year were not given enough time to come up with bids that met the city’s requirements.

Allmon plans to review the lone bid from Fire Service Inc. to make sure it meets the specifications.

The fire department’s newest piece of equipment — a 2010 American LaFrance Ladder Truck — was purchased in 2010. Its oldest is a 1982 Hendrickson Squad Cab Pumper, which is held in reserve and used for training.

Allmon said there has been a need for new equipment because the fire department’s fleet is old, requiring extra work for his mechanic.

Allmon said he plans to buy one new truck each year.

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