FOLEY – City officials plan to increase fire protection with additional trucks and other equipment to provide more service as Foley grows.
Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby said a new pumper truck is on order and is scheduled to be delivered by September. The city has also approved plans to buy a new ladder truck that could be delivered as early as 2025.
The Foley City Council approved the purchase of equipment for the new pumper to have those items ready when that unit is delivered.
Darby said the price of the equipment will depend on the bid submissions received. He said the department has $100,000 budgeted for the items using revenue from its property tax fund.
“It is budgeted in our fire ad valorem fund for $100,000,” Darby said. “We will keep our fingers crossed. Obviously there’s been a lot of price increases since then. I think we’re going to be OK but we’ll have to go to bid and see where we land.”
Darby said prices and availability on some equipment have improved recently.
,”Loose equipment right now is getting much better, hose in particular,” Darby said. “Hose had gotten to the point where they wouldn’t even give us delivery dates, but we placed an order a few months ago and already have that in. so I’m seeing progress.”
The council also recently approved the purchase of a new ladder truck to serve the south side of the city. Darby said the city needs the additional unit to meet the demands of growth.
“With the amount of growth on our south and especially our southeast part of town, both residential and especially commercial, what’s already happening and what we anticipate happening over the next few years, I’ve been planning for the last couple of budget cycles for the need to put a ladder truck at Station 3 to be run day-in, day-out to be staffed different from our ladder truck that we have downtown,” Darby said.
He said a second ladder truck could also help improve the city’s rating with the Insurance Service Organization and reduce insurance rates for Foley property owners.
In most cases, supply chain issues have delayed the acquisition of new fire trucks by as much as four years, Darby said. He said, however, that the city can order a truck through North American Fire Equipment Company in Decatur that could be received as early as 2025.
He said the delay not only means a longer wait for needed service, but more costs as the prices of the trucks increase each year. Darby said the cost of the Foley truck will depend on the specifications now being drawn up, but that ladder trucks can cost about $1 million.
“What that does, in a nutshell, is improve our delivery time by 18 months or more and they anticipate price increases of around 12% over the next year, so that’s going to reduce our costs by somewhere in the $100,000, $120,000 range,” Darby said. “It’s a pretty amazing offer.”
City Administrator Mike Thompson said Foley officials would like to have the new truck as soon as possible. The new deal will help the city acquire the vehicle much earlier than any other option.
“We have it in our capital plan for ‘24,” Thompson said. “This gets us the truck in ‘25, but if we don’t do this deal, we’re probably taking about ‘26 or ‘27 before we can fulfill a 2024 capital plan. That’s what’s so good about it. It helps us get a truck that we were hoping to get next year and we know we’re not going to get it next year, but we can at least get it in ‘25/”