EL gets good deal on used ladder truck

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The fire department found a great bargain on the ladder truck they need 900 miles away.

The Village Board Tuesday added its endorsement to the department’s purchase of a used 2009 Rosenbauer ladder truck from the Bryn Mawr Fire Department in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

The purchase, for no more than $515,000, was already approved by the Rhine Town Board following a presentation to a joint meeting of the Village Board and the Town Board, which share the department’s fire services.

“It’s in extremely good shape. I don’t think we could get a better truck for the money,” Fire Chief Pat Zorn said. “I really think this is the best bang for our buck. This truck will meet our needs.”

The truck has only 22,000 miles on it, but is being replaced by the department in the Philadelphia suburb, which Zorn said has a policy of replacing its ladder truck every seven years.

Elkhart Lake’s current ladder truck is 33 years old and in need of replacement, Zorn said. He told the trustees he thought the department could get at least 25 years service out of the Rosenbauer truck.

Zorn said he had a verbal agreement with Bryn Mawr for $450,000 for the truck. Repainting the truck – which is currently green and gold in color – and replacing heavier fiberglass ladders with lighter aluminum ladders would cost another $25,000 to $30,000.

The truck has a 100-foot ladder. It does not have a platform at the top of the ladder, but Zorn noted that the department’s current ladder truck does not either. Other area departments, including Plymouth, have ladder trucks with platforms that would be available on mutual aid for a fire in the town or village if needed.

Zorn said similar trucks new run in the $800,000 to $1 million price range. He said there are less than a dozen used ladder trucks on the market nationwide.

“We’re getting the truck we need at a fair price,” Village President Alan Rudnick commented.

Zorn said he is hoping to arrange for delivery of the truck next April.

Trustee Lynn Shovan commended Zorn and his department for their research in finding the new truck and their presentation on the purchase to the joint town/village board meeting.

The board also approved a new vehicle for Zorn in his other capacity, as the village’s public works director.

The village will purchase a new International dump truck/snow plow at a cost of around $160,000, to be delivered in October.

Trustee Richard Sadiq, chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee, said the village will save around $14,000 on the price of the truck by purchasing it now.

“Then we will have it in time for snow plow season,” Trustee Lynn Shovan explained.

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