The city’s downtown fire station is expected to be modified within 90 days to make room for the ladder truck purchased earlier this month, a move prompting media reports and questions at the last city council meeting.
The city expects to spend about $130,000 on design and installation of a new bay door for the $867,742 Pierce Enforcer, a demonstrator purchased with cash on hand, rather than through financing, due to the need to replace it as quickly as possible.
“A ladder truck is a crucial piece of fire apparatus. The city expedited the deployment of the replacement vehicle for this reason,” Lebanon City Manager Pat Clements said Monday in response to questions about the purchase.
During a work session next week, the city council is scheduled to discuss financing the truck purchase next year and reimbursing the general fund. But the council has already indicated it will support this plan, Clements said.
“The ordinance declaring the intent to reimburse the general fund is a two-reading ordinance since it is not time sensitive,” Clements said in a series of emails that contended this newspaper’s previous report on the truck purchase was written “to create controversy where none exists.”
While the newspaper’s story said city officials were “trying to figure out how best to pay” for the truck, Clements pointed out the city unanimously approved the purchase from the general fund on Aug. 15, and the truck was delivered on Aug. 16 and paid for a day later after inspection.
At the Aug. 23 council meeting, Matt Rodriguez, a former councilman, asked about the truck, problems fitting it in the fire station and the plan to pay for it.
City Auditor Sharee Dick wants the city to wait until next year to repay the general fund with funds raised through long-term financing.
This will ensure the city gets the best interest rates and stays within a $10 million debt limit, Dick said in a memo to council.
The city needs the money available through the 2016 financing for road and sewer projects, Dick said in the memo.
“In order to save money on the cost of issuance, it would be advisable to pay cash,” she said.
The council later held a first reading on the ordinance supporting reimbursing the general fund for the cash purchase through financing plan next year. Mayor Amy Brewer said there would be time for discussion at the Sept. 6 work session.
The final vote is scheduled for Sept. 13.