Darren Zemanek/The Daily Evergreen Pullman needs a new fire truck, but has to make further cuts to an already reduced budget to do so.
The City Council approved the purchase of the new truck in last week’s meeting, along with a resolution allowing the city to borrow the money from the general fund.
The council passed an ordinance allowing inter-fund loans so that the fire department could make the purchase before grant funds become available, City Supervisor Mark Workman said.
The fire department will pay for the new fire truck through a FEMA Grant, a WSU donation, some City Capital Improvement Program funds and by cutting $18,950.18 from their budget, according to the city agenda.
The fire department has already had to make $232,076 in cuts to its 2013 budget with $41,710 to salaries, according to the council’s Nov. 5 agenda.
“Hopefully we won’t have to cut much,” Fire Captain Eric Reiber said. “But it will mean we will just not replace some things for a year.”
They plan on reducing expenditures to uniforms by $5,000, equipment by $5,000 and cut $8,950.18 from fire control and ambulance services to help pay for it, according to the city agenda.
They have already had to eliminate eight reserve firefighters, one full-time firefighter and will now probably hold off on filling an administrative position, Reiber said.
The truck actually cost more because of the reduction in staff, Reiber said. They had to add features that allowed two people to operate the fire engine instead of the usual crew of four.
The total cost for the new engine will be $602,150.18, according to the council’s agenda.
The new truck will replace one built 27 years ago, Fire Chief Mike Heston said.
“Most fire trucks last ten years on the front line and in 20 years you retire them,” Heston said.
Some of the features on the old truck are so outdated they aren’t even legal anymore, Reiber said, such as the open cab design on the back of the engine.
The fire department plans to borrow $443,276 from the city’s general fund until it can pay it back.
The new ordinance will allow the mayor to authorize inter-fund borrowing without council approval, Workman said. The mayor though, must receive authorization from the finance director for the borrowing to occur.
“We’ve done this before and usually ad hoc,” Workman said. “This is just a mechanism for bridging funding.”