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City on verge of buying two new firetrucks
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McMinnville Fire Department is one step away from the purchase of two new firetrucks totaling $877,886. The measure passed 4-3 on first read last week.
Mayor Jimmy Haley and Aldermen Mike Neal, Ken Smith and Jimmy Bonner voted in favor, while Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Aldermen Rick Barnes and Billy Wood voted against.
The trucks under consideration came from a bid from Rosenbauer. Its bid package of $877,886 was for an engine truck at $318,967 and a quint truck at $558,919.
 Newman questioned why the city should purchase a higher priced quint, or ladder truck, from Rosenbauer at $558,919 when a second bid was received from Ferrara that offered a quint for $544,440 — a $14,479 difference.
“I was thinking about the total bids that came in on its unit,” said Newman. “It’s not the lowest bid on the quint price. I understand there were issues that the city wanted in its bid that Ferrara couldn’t come up with but it seems like that’s higher than the other and we wouldn’t be accepting the lowest bid on that.”
The recommendation to go with Rosenbauer came out of the Safety Committee on Sept. 24. Aldermen Mike Neal, chairman, and Ken Smith voted in favor, while Rick Barnes voted against.
Neal said the decision was made because Ferrara did not offer the safety features the city asked for in the quint but Rosenbauer did, making the higher priced truck the best.
As explained by Fire Chief Keith Martin, “Out of the specs that were given to the apparatus manufacturers, Rosenbauer was the bid that closely matched what we wanted. The safety features we wanted with the smart technology on the ladder, the galvanization coating on the freight rails, outriggers, ladder, torque box. They were the only manufacturer that met those specs.”
State law requires municipalities to offer a fair bidding process and accept the lowest and best bid from those submitted. Officials can go with a higher bid if the item being offered is closer to the specifications the city gave in its request for proposals than the lower priced item.
Newman questioned of Martin the need for both the vehicles to be purchased at the same time.
“Could we hold off on one of these? If you had to choose, which one would it be better to hold off on?”
Martin says the quint would be used to replace a quint that was wrecked and is more than 40 years old, while the engine truck would be used to replace one the city has that is 23 years old.
“I would recommend the ladder truck be purchased,” said Martin. “However, the prices that were given were based on us purchasing both of them. It was a package deal.”
Ferrara’s bid package totaled $865,331 — a quint at $544,440 and an engine at $320,891.
Newman questioned the cost difference if the city decided to split the packages and accept the quint from Ferrara and the engine from Rosenbauer, to which Martin stated, “I don’t know. We would have to go back and rebid it.”
Being an ordinance, the measure must pass one more read before the board. The next regular session is Oct. 22.