What’s old is new for the Calimesa Fire Department after the city council approved Monday night a couple of resolutions that allowed the city to purchase used vehicles for its fire staff.

A demonstration 2019 mini-pumper Type 6 fire engine for the cost of $145,900 and a used Type 3 wildland engine for $30,000 were unanimously approved on Aug. 5.

“Thirty grand doesn’t seem like it’s much to spend on a vehicle that you feel will serve us well in the city,” said Councilman Larry Smith.

“This was all brought forward to the ad hoc committee,” said Mayor Bill Davis before the vote. “It was discussed thoroughly. We went through it and it was explained how we could get away with it and what we needed to do.”

Davis was referring to the resolution that allowed the city to amend its budget and waive formal bidding for the demo Type 6 engine, which will replace an old squad, and the used Type 3 engine that will allow the fire department to increase its overall response capabilities.

“It does allow us much more flexibility when we can make those findings,” said City Manager Bonnie Johnson, about making certain findings for the used vehicles under the city’s purchasing ordinance to allow for the resolution.

Johnson said the purchase of the vehicles, especially the mini-pumper, was needed because the squad was becoming expensive to keep in service.

“Calimesa is currently staffing two apparatus on each shift, a Type 1 fire engine and a medical aid squad. The squad was originally placed in service in 1989,” Johnson said. “The squad is becoming very expensive to repair, maintain and operate. It’s gone through the refurbishment process more than once and it’s been in out of service and in service over the years. It has been in service since we formed our Calimesa Fire Department.”

The squad has no air conditioning and recently its transmission went out, Chief Jock Johnson said.

“The squad has limited functionality,” City Manager Johnson said. “One of the main things that translates to is there is no fire suppression capabilities. There is no phone, no water. It was strictly medical aid.”

Now with the mini-pumper and the wildland engine, which is four-wheel drive, Calimesa will have two reliable frontline vehicles.

“In making this purchase, our fire department staff did an assessment of what our needs are going forward. With the addition of the piece of equipment like this to our apparatus, we will not only have fire suppression on all of our frontline pieces of equipment and over time on all the backup pieces of equipment,” Bonnie Johnson said. “I think that is important.”

The council opted to pay for the vehicles by going with staff’s recommendation of an interfund loan of $210,000 from its police facilities fund because the fire facilities fund is already committed to an annual lease of about $50,000 for its E-One Engine.

The police facilities fund, which currently has about $432,000 and will pay for a new station, would not be utilized in the near future, Johnson said.

“I am proposing that we take a portion of that money and loan it to the fire facilities fund and we make these purchases,” she said. “I am proposing a loan of $210,000, which will pay for these purchases, plus sales taxes, plus licenses, fees and any other fees we incur from these pieces of equipment.”

The loan will be repaid over a not-to-exceed 10-year period.

The next Calimesa City Council meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 3, because of the Labor Day holiday and the Monday, Aug. 19 meeting was canceled.

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