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Radcliff reviews fire truck bids

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Both offers exceeded money allocated in current budget

By Marty Finley

Radcliff’s intention of purchasing a new fire truck will cost more than expected.

Fire Chief Jamie Henderson presented a pair of bids to Radcliff City Council on Monday that exceed the $450,000 allocated in the current operating budget.

Pennsylvania-based KME Kovatch offered a bid of $496,904 while the offer from Ohio-based Sutphen was $547,400, Henderson said.

The new rescue pumper would, in essence, replace two 1980s model trucks and a box rescue truck purchased in the early 1990s, Henderson said. Rather than purchasing two or three new vehicles, the city decided to merge the costs into one large purchase, which Henderson said will assist the department considering it will roll out less equipment from the station.

Henderson recommended the bid from KME because it is cheaper but also because of the safety features with which the truck would be equipped, including airbags in the cab.

The truck will be built to the city’s specifications. KME projects completion in 270 days while Sutphen called for nine to 11 months.

Henderson said both companies are credible and the type of truck offered by KME has been recommended by other fire chiefs around the state.

He also pointed to the amount of compartment space offered on the truck, which will be beneficial for long-term use based on a 20-year outlook. Henderson said it is the first truck in the department’s arsenal with compartments on the top of the apparatus.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of space on this truck,” he said.

When council members asked if the more expensive truck offered bonus features the city would need, Henderson said there are small differences between the cab and batteries but they are largely the same structurally.

“The more expensive one actually has less on it,” Henderson said.

Chief Financial Officer Chance Fox said the city will not be required to pay the entire amount up front, so it can allocate the remaining $47,000 to next year’s budget if needed.

The city also is negotiating a pre-payment discount that would shave some of the cost off the bid. Newly seated Councilman Jacob Pearman asked Fox if the city would be required to pay all of the cost upfront to receive the discount or could it pay half the amount. Fox said the city purchased another fire truck by paying all of the cost up front, in which it received a 5 percent discount. However, the city’s approach will be dictated by the type of discounts offered by KME.

“I guess we’ve got to see what their offer is,” Fox said.

Radcliff City Council will address the bids at its voting meeting next Tuesday night at Radcliff City Hall.

Henderson also informed the council that it updated the two pumps needed to operate its jaws and spreader extrication devices used to remove motorists from their vehicles during wrecks. One of the pumps started malfunctioning during the holidays, leading the city to use its service agreement with High Tech Rescue in Louisville for repairs.

A problem was found in the hydraulic system and Henderson said the city was given a quote of roughly $4,000 for repairs. As an alternative proposal, the company offered to rebuild and upgrade the two pumps, which improved their speed, for around $5,500. Radcliff chose the upgrades, equipping the city with two new pumps. Henderson estimated the pumps run twice as fast now.

The pumps were out of service for roughly four days, during which there were three extrications, Henderson said. As part of the service agreement, the company loaned the city backup pumps to operate the extrication devices.

In other business:

Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross told the council the police department’s screening process is structured to hire the “best of the best” but occasionally the department fails to detect problems in advance.

Cross’ comments addressed the departure of former RPD Officer Morgan L. Jones, who resigned from the force on the same day he tested positive for cocaine during a random drug test in late November, according to documents obtained from the city.

Cross stood behind the random drug testing and the screening process and said the hope is that the public, co-workers or an officer’s supervisor may detect signs of trouble beforehand. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, Cross said.

“Cops, like everyone else, are human beings,” he said.

Cross also defended the integrity of those who currently work for the department. Likewise, he said officer misconduct is not unique to one police department.

“Don’t throw us all in the same basket,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.