Oak Park Village Board has approved the purchased of a new aerial ladder fire truck for $825,202.
Fire officials expect to receive about $80,000 in trade for a ladder truck and up to $179,229 in assistance from the foreign fire insurance fund, a tax on out-of-state insurance companies that sell fire insurance in Oak Park.
For paying the full price up front, Oak Park will receive a $29,000 reduction in the price, bringing the price down to $795,294, Fire Chief Thomas Ebsen said. After help from the insurance fund and trade-in allowance, the village will pay $536,065, Ebsen said.
Oak Park will buy the 2013 E-One Cyclone aerial ladder truck with rear-mounting 95-toot ladder from Fire Service, Inc., of St. John, Ind., through a lease agreement with FirstMerit Bank. The village will pay up to 3.5 percent interest.
Six bidders responded to Oak Park’s request for proposals, but four were unable to meet the size requirements necessary to get the truck under 14 north-south underpasses with low minimum heights, Ebsen said.
“One of our goals was to ensure the ladder truck could fit under all the viaducts,” he said. “We do not want to have delayed response time ever. It was a challenge because many larger apparatuses have gotten higher over the years.”
The Illinois Municipal League collects a 2 percent tax each year on behalf of the insurance fund, the use of which is determined by a three-member board. Two members are chosen by rank and file members of the fire department and one is appointed by the chief, Ebsen said.
“The board was very passionate about the truck,” he said. “They proposed the idea and the motion carried to fund 25 percent, up to a maximum of $200,000.”
The board’s offer to contribute funds to the purchase is a “wonderful sign of collaboration and partnership,” Trustee Ray Johnson said.
Unlike River Forest, Oak Park was not able to apply for a federal grant to buy the truck, Ebsen said. Since River Forest did not own the truck it previously shared with Oak Park, they qualified for a grant to buy one, he said.
Earlier this year River Forest chose to end its equipment-sharing agreement with Oak Park. River Forest officials chose to leave because they wanted to operate their own equipment and knew they could get a grant to buy it, Ebsen said.
“It’s disappointing we were not able to continue our partnership with River Forest,” Johnson said. “Those kinds of partnerships are critical as we go forward because of tax capacity.”