Linwood Fire Department to get new truck

Town board approves replacement of 1984 model

Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

Linwood Fire Chief Darryl Ballman introduced a proposal for the fire department to purchase a new truck and asked the town board’s approval to do so at its Dec. 11 meeting.

The department works on a 30-year replacement schedule on the trucks. The truck due for replacement is a 1984 GMC.

A six-member committee began planning for this project about 18 months ago. The goal was to include features looking forward to the needs of the department.

The prefered model would have room for an engineer, officer and four firefighters. This would improve tactics for the department, which favors what Ballman termed “two-in and two-out” strategy; two-man teams; one supporting the other. The unit scheduled for replacement carries only five.

Chair Mike Parker noted that the water capacity of the 1984 truck is too small. Phil Osterhus commented that the committee has done its work, focusing on essentials, but no extras. Mike Halliday asked about other options and why only one was presented.

The committee has consulted with vendors. The preferred truck is one available through HGAC buying consortium, similar to buying other heavy equipment through quantity bid prices.

“This chassis has a good reputation,” Ballman said.

There is currently $120,000 in the capital fund, plus the 2013 contribution from the budget. All that would need to be done to the truck is for the radio to be installed, and then the truck could go to work. It takes about seven months to build the unit.

Payments on a lease purchase could be annual, semi-annual, or quarterly.  If the township signs for the lease, the first payment would be a year later. Interest ranges from 2.6 to 3.2 percent.  At the end of the lease term, there would be a $1 buy-out.

The board figures that with a six or seven-year lease the truck would be paid for without an increase in the budget. Supervisors unanimously gave the go-ahead to the truck purchase, reserving the option to go with a lease or to bond for the purchase.

Ballman requested a return to red fire trucks, and the board agreed. The new truck will be red and others are in a rotation for painting. The one exception would be the grass rig, which is often used in conjunction with DNR fire fighting. Ballman estimates that within three years, all the trucks will have been painted red.

Other Business

Linwood Township has a new accountant/secretary. Janet Haapoja was selected of the pool of 34 candidates, and was recommended by the interview committee. The board approved the hire and set a starting wage of $17 per hour. Haapoja’s start date was Dec. 11.

Supervisors approved entering into a Joint Powers Agreement with Anoka County and communities and school districts within the county to purchase election equipment.

Anoka County will cover 55 percent of the cost for the equipment. The 21 cities in the county will pay for 30 percent of the cost; apportioned by population, Linwood’s share is 1.5 percent of this. School districts in the county will proportionately share the final 15 percent.

Attorney Mike Haag recommended Linwood’s participation and noted that all other agencies have approved the JPA. Linwood’s share is $4,183 for the four-year agreement, which begins Jan. 1.

The Linwood Elementary School Butter Braid sale has raised nearly $5,300 for the Linwood Community and School Forest.

The trails in the forest are groomed for skiing.  As part of his Eagle Scout requirements, Brandon Summer reported about his project of making and installing trail signs. Finally, the fourth-annual Medallion Hunt is underway.

The second annual Township Skating Party is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13.

Ten building permits were issued in Linwood in November: two for new homes, three for re-roofs and others for furnace and heating systems, a septic system and repair to fire damage.

Supervisors accepted the letter of resignation of James Garrison from the Linwood Park Board. In the same letter he expressed interest in serving on the township’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Parker noted that as a result of Ed Kramer’s election as supervisor, a position has opened on Planning and Zoning. Garrison was unanimously appointed.

Parker closed his last meeting as board Chair.  He thanked the other members of the board for their service and working together. Budde also completed his term as supervisor, serving since 1996. He also thanked the board.

In January, newly elected supervisors Ed Kramer and Carol Searing join the town board.