City of Oskaloosa to purchase fire truck

Nov. 23—OSKALOOSA — The City of Oskaloosa is set to purchase a new fire truck in the coming year.

The Oskaloosa City Council approved a resolution to enter into a contract to purchase a new pumper truck for the Oskaloosa Fire Department at their regular meeting Monday night. The current pumper truck used by the department has been in service for over 22 years, according to the Oskaloosa Fire Department, while it only has a life expectancy of 20 years. Given the truck's long service, the department has determined that it is in need of a new pumper truck.

Originally, the city's Capital Improvement Plan allotted $690,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck in fiscal year 2024. However, rising inflation has changed matters.

"In the past two years we've seen some significant price increases in the purchase prices of the trucks and the lead time," said Oskaloosa Fire Chief Scott Vaughan. "What used to be a year is now two years. When you order that truck, you're not going to get it for two years, so if we did stay with the CIP fiscal year 2024, we'd be looking at a 2026 delivery if we were lucky."

Rising inflation now places the purchase price of a new fire truck at $800,000. The department has, however, found a demonstration pumper truck available for purchase. The truck is available for immediate delivery and at a price below the allotted budget for fiscal year 2024.

"The demo trucks are obviously something that manufacturers build. They take them around to conventions and fire shows. We were just fortunate that we looked at one truck on Veterans Day, which was Friday," Vaughan said. "This truck is a little bigger than our current pumper that will go to reserve status, but it's got a lot more storage compartments up on top or actually ... on both sides that will allow us to bring more stuff to the scene."

"Right now, if we get called for specialized rescue of certain types, we're going to have to scramble in the department to get that equipment on a different truck and bring that along ... This will allow us to put a lot of that equipment in this truck," he said.

Vaughan also said demo trucks can be bought at a greatly reduced price, which is why the city will be able to purchase this truck for an amount not to exceed $600,000.

The truck will require a few modifications to make certain that it meets all of the fire department's needs. However, the department has determined that it is suitable and requested the council approve an amendment to the CIP in order to authorize its purchase.

The council unanimously approved the resolution and will move forward with the purchase.

Channing Rucks can be reached at