Grass Valley Fire Department looks to buy engine |

Grass Valley Fire Department looks to buy engine

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

Amid a Grass Valley City Council meeting saturated today with presentations and proclamations, the municipality's fire department is scheduled to request approval to purchase a $454,000 fire engine, using voter-approved tax revenues.

The request puts the timetable for the engine's arrival back somewhat from what was originally planned, reported interim Fire Chief Mark Buttron.

The fire department's initial plan was to purchase a new fire engine during the current fiscal year. But the city cites the lengthy process of drafting the specifications for the fire engine and a nine-month build time as pushing the engine's arrival back to sometime in late August or early September 2014.

However, the expenditure approval also follows a discretionary spending freeze of city funds as the city looks to replace City Administrator Dan Holler, who reportedly resigned at the end of August.

Subsequently, the city's interim leaders enacted a 60-day freeze on discretionary spending in early September due to a concern that revenues from Measure N, a half-percent temporary sales tax increase, were lagging behind. At the time, acting City Administrator Tim Kiser said the concern was with the flow of money — when tax funds are allocated to the city — rather than whether funds will eventually be in the city's bank accounts.

When voters approved Measure N in November 2012, it was based on advocates' proposal that its revenues would go toward hiring police and firefighters, purchasing their needed equipment and servicing city streets. The proposed fire engine purchase is one of three proposed new fire engines to be bought over Measure N's 10-year life span.

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The Grass Valley Fire Department fleet consists of three fire engines, the oldest of which was purchased in 1986 and the newest of which was purchased in 2003. Buttron notes in his report to the City Council that the average service life for a fire engine, dependent upon use, is between 10 and 12 years with an additional five to 10 years as a reserve vehicle.

If council approves the expenditure, the department will begin the process to purchase a Type 1 Fire Engine from Pennsylvania-based Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation. When it arrives, Buttron said the city's oldest engine will be sent to surplus for auction or donated to a local fire academy.

At today's meeting, Council is also slated to bear witness to presentations from the sober-youth activities group NEO, the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, Grass Valley Police Department regarding awarding the Silver Medal of Valor and a proclamation of Nevada County's 22nd Food and Toy Run and recognition of Reserve Sgt. Mike Walsh.

Today's meeting of the Grass Valley City Council is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, located at 125 E. Main St. in the downtown area.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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