Ashcroft to borrow for new fire truck

Village of Ashcroft is contemplating borrowing money to lease new fire truck.

Ashcroft is looking into leasing a new fire truck to replace its old one, and the sooner the better.

The Village issued a Request For Proposals (RPF) on BC Bid’s website on Sept. 30. Administrator Michelle Allen says the RPF will get the process going.

“It’s going to be a juggling act,” she says, “to see how much the RFPs come in at, then to see how much we can take out of Reserves and what’s left to cover.”

The current truck, she says, is just about to “age out”. When that happens, homeowners will see an increase in the fire portion of their insurance.

The Fire Department lost its backup truck last summer while fighting the fire at the Ashcroft Manot. Since then, they’ve been using a rented truck.

The Village has been expecting to purchase a new truck for some time. In 2012 at the Apr. 23 meeting, a motion was carried to have the Chief Financial Officer “investigate funding options regarding the replacement of the Village of Ashcroft’s first line fire truck.”

Allen says they put aside money paid to the Fire Dept. for their assistance in fighting the 2003 wildfires, as well as a portion they receive from highway rescues. She wasn’t sure of the amount that had been set aside, but estimated that it was a maximum of $200,000 – half of what a new fire truck is expected to cost.

“The ultimate decision will depend on how much the RFP comes in at,” she said. “If it’s too high we’ll have to rethink this.”

Council will consider  going to an alternative approval process at its next meeting on Aug. 24. That means they will vote to approve borrowing the money for the truck unless enough voters vote against it.

Allen said they’re not expecting to have to raise taxes for this. They will try to absorb the costs through budget surpluses from other projects that have been completed.

“The taxpayers shouldn’t see much of an increase,” she said. “The goal is not to have any tax increase at all.”

She said they’re looking at a 15 year lease for the truck through the Municipal Finance Authority. “We’re going to have to borrow money one way or another,” she said, “and MFA has the best rates.”