City Council approves purchase of new fire engine for North Logan

NORTH LOGAN — Residents may see a new fire engine on the streets of North Logan in the near future. The City Council approved a $364,784 bid from Rosenbauer for a fire engine.

North Logan Fire Chief Jon Keller, who presented the fire department’s budget proposal for next year, said officials made sure they would get a truck that met their needs for a good price.

“We actually built the specs, then we sent them out to different manufacturers … and said, ‘bid on this truck,’” Keller said. “Believe me, we’ve done our homework. We were doing it at a fast pace, because we want to get a truck because we were down a truck. We’ve been trying to plan this thing for probably six months.”

The fire department recently sold an engine that did not meet the city’s needs for approximately $176,000.

Keller said the department received three bids, as required by governmental procedures. He said the actual cost of the engine should be very close to the bid.

“These bid prices are apples to apples. These are trucks that we wanted to build, and they will build it to our spec,” Keller said.

Of the three bids the department received, Rosenbauer’s was the lowest. The company offered the fire department a discount for paying for the engine up front, which the department is able to do. Cost was not the only reason he recommended the Rosenbauer engine, Keller said.

“Obviously, it’s the cheapest engine, but that’s not the reason we’re going with the Rosenbauer,” Keller said. “We’ve had one, we’re very happy with it. And with the price that came in, it’s kind of a no-brainer.” Keller said he liked Rosenbauer’s customer service and their maintenance staff, as well.

After the purchase of the engine, the department will still have more than $60,000 left in the capital allocation of next year’s budget, Keller said, which they plan to keep to help replace equipment as needed.

Mayor Lloyd Berentzen commended the department for paying for the engine within their budget. Councilman Damon Cann moved to approve the bid, Councilman Roger Anderson seconded the motion and all four council members in attendance voted in favor.

The council also discussed plans for a new police department building. Earlier this month, the council held a public hearing in which residents expressed concern over the price of the bid estimates the police department has received from architects. At the March 31 meeting, the mayor and some council members also expressed concern that the bid estimates were probably higher than necessary.

“I just really think we need to make a decision and move on, but one concern I have, and I know some of the other council members have, is that the cost is too high,” Councilwoman Nancy Potter said. “It just seems really, really high.”

Cann said he visited the new police station in Smithfield and spoke with Police Chief Johnny McCoy about construction costs.

“After walking through the building there and seeing what they’ve done for $600,000, I just don’t understand why we need to spend a million and a half for a facility,” Cann said. “We are bigger than Smithfield, but we’re not that much bigger.”

Lower construction costs could eliminate the need for the city to borrow money from the water fund, an option the mayor and other officials have considered to cover construction costs.

“From what I understand,” Cann said, “if we could do as well as they did, we could pay in cash and not even touch the water fund.”

Berentzen said he spoke with a contractor who provided a bid for the Smithfield building, and the contractor also thought the bid estimate for North Logan’s building was high.

“There’s something really bizarre about our bid estimate,” Berentzen said. "I’d really like to explore further how their estimate costs were so much lower.

The council did not take action on the police station, but members expressed a desire to visit the Smithfield Police Station with Chief Hawkes.

The council also discussed possible changes to guidelines for the public hearing process. Reading from a draft, Berentzen said possible changes could include time limits and reminders to the public that hearings aren’t press conferences or Q-and-A sessions.

“A public hearing is an opportunity to express opinions to the city council,” Berentzen said. “It is not a time to ask questions and expect dialogue between the council and whoever is coming and speaking. Hopefully a lot of that kind of dialogue will happen one-on-one and individuals will talk with [council members] about things.”

City Administrator Jeff Jorgensen said he thought stressing the idea that a public hearing is not a time for council members to respond to questions was a good idea. If individuals at a public hearing expected dialogue and asked questions of council members, and council members did not respond, others in the audience might interpret the council’s silence as a dismissal of the speaker’s views, he said. The council took no action to change administrative rules regarding the public hearing process.

During the city staff reports, Jorgensen said the city saved about $30,000 on snow removal due to less-than-average snowfall this winter.

Published in cooperation with the Hard News Cafe. Original story is here.