By Dedra Cordle
A request to acquire two emergency vehicles has been granted by officials in Jackson Township.
At its meeting in early March, the board of trustees authorized the purchase of a fire engine and a medic in order to replace aging equipment that the fire department has been using for decades.
The fire engine will be manufactured by the Amlin, Ohio based company Sutphen in the amount of $768,000. The medic will be manufactured locally by Horton Emergency Vehicles in the amount of $375,000.
The fire engine, which is slated to be housed at Station 201 on Grove City Road, will replace the vehicle the department has been using since 2006. Fire officials say that vehicle has become “a bit of a money pit.”
“I would say on average, we do about $10,000 worth of maintenance on all of our fire engines,” said Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Quincel. “That consists of our annual safety inspections, preventative maintenance, and having our pumps and ladders tested. It does not include anything that breaks.
“With the engine that we have requested to have replaced, it cost our department $56,000 last year in maintenance costs to keep it up and running.”
A healthy fire department needs an efficient fleet of fire engines, Quincel went on to say.
“Their primary function is to put out fires,” he said. “The engine carries the waters, it carries the firefighters, and it carries the hoses and all of our tools.”
He said that while the vehicle the department has been using since 2006 is still capable of carrying out those tasks, they do believe it is time to replace it.
It will take roughly 20 months for the fire engine to be delivered to the department.
The urgency to replace a medic is not as dire as the engine, said Quincel, as it is a part of a regular maintenance cycle.
“We try to keep our medics on the frontline for five years and then in a backup role for another five years, but that is largely dependent on the miles,” said Quincel. “So at our busier stations, the medics don’t usually make it to a 10-year lifespan.”
The medic ordered at the meeting will be housed at Station 202 on Hoover Road, the department’s busiest. It will take roughly 8 to 12 months to be delivered.
The township does not plan to finance the emergency vehicles through a long-term loan. Fiscal Officer Ron Grossman said there are enough funds in the department reserves to pay outright due to the four-mill temporary fire replacement levy voters approved in 2020.
In other news, the board approved the purchase of a $40,000 road department vehicle and a $24,800 asphalt hot box trailer for the road department.
Township Administrator Shane Farnsworth said the trailer will make repairing potholes more timely and efficient.
The township also announced they have become a member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Until recently, townships were not permitted to be members of MORPC. Farnsworth said it will allow the township internship opportunities and “a seat at the table where we can listen and also be heard.”