Tax Needed for Fire Equipment
The chief believes this specific tax can keep citizens safe.
Fire trucks always look strong and sturdy. But the truth is, they don' t last forever. A fire truck's normal service lifetime is 20 years, and many trucks at the Jefferson City Fire Department are creeping up on that timeline.
"The kind of usage that we're encountering today has significantly shortened the life of those trucks, and the fact that these trucks have already reached, or nearly reached, their full life anyway," said Jefferson City Fire Chief Bob Rennick.
The fire department has five trucks in reserve that are more than 17 years old, including one that is 25 years old.
So the fire chief wants to develop an apparatus replacement plan that involves seven brand new trucks on a 10 year lease. The lease plan would provide a fixed cost of owning the fleet, reduce maintenance expenses, and eliminate many older trucks from the reserve status. The problem is, the money would come from a half-cent sales tax that only lasts five years.
"It does create a potential funding lapse for something that you would sign onto for 10 years," explained Kevin Brown, from the Jefferson City Council.
To meet a lease made now, voters would have to approve the tax again in 2011.
At this point, its up to the city council to review the lease and decide whether to take the risk.
Six months ago, the fire department purchased a new fire truck for $470 thousand, which is more than twice the amount the department receives each year for equipment repairs.