Reed City Council discusses maintenance, repair costs for fire tenders

REED CITY – The Reed City Fire Department is nearing the point at which it will need to get rid of two tender trucks.

During their regular monthly meeting on Monday, Oct. 17, members of the Reed City Council heard a stark report from fire chief Jeff Stein about the growing costs to maintain and repair the older-model No. 2 and No. 3 tender trucks.

While seeking permission to sell tender truck No. 2, Stein updated members on Monday that tender truck No. 3 had gotten new rings and the pump was being tested. However, he said once the tender is returned he would like to get rid of it.

“There’s transmission problems with Tender No. 2,” he said. “On our last call, there were problems when it was in reverse. If we hadn’t had our guys back there to watch, someone could have gotten really hurt.”

Whether it could be sold on the Michigan Truck Trader auction site or as scrap, Stein said whatever the city could get from the sale of the tender would be better than continuing to do pay repair costs.

Council members questioned the procedures in regards to the sale by bids or scrapping the truck, as well as the city’s liability to sell a tender truck to someone at auction.

“I would absolutely inform people not to buy it as a fire truck,” Stein said. “It needs a lot of work; it needs a new radiator and shackles. Some of the parts, they don’t make anymore. It’s just not smart to put more money into the truck that will just crap out and burn.”

City Manager Ron Howell added the truck is no longer usable as a fire truck.

“He can advertise on the open market and look into the possible alternatives, such as scrapping it,” he said. “Out there on the auction block, those would be bids as they will not hit the requirement for the council to request bids.”

Supporting the measure for bids on Tender No. 2, council member Roger Meinert pointed out there needs to be a long-term plan in place for the city so it isn’t burdened by repair and purchase costs.

“Council needs to take a serious look at what we have and plan for what is down the road,” he said. “Not only for the fire department, but the police department and the city. We have to look at leasing trucks. In that way, the life of these trucks is between 20 to 25 years. If they’re on a 10-year rotation, it would be a constant cost, a budgeted line item.

A rotation plan for the trucks, Meinert said, can help modernize the fleet.

Council members also approved the following items during Monday’s meeting:

  • tabled a resolution for department head and administrative employees’ salary increase adjustments until other contracts are settled;tabled a professional services agreement between the city and engineering firm Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber for projects on Todd and Stimson avenues until a representative from the firm can explain the large increase from initial cost estimates;
  • approved Red Tail Brewing Company to move forward with its business plan;
  • obtain bids for residential solid waste disposal;
  • supported the transfer of a liquor license to Sunny’s Bar and Grill; and
  • approved a corrective action plan to address deficiencies in the 2016 auditing procedures report.