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Mayville Fire Truck Purchase Fails Again

The Mayville Village Board has again rejected a proposal for the fire department to buy a new engine truck. This latest proposal was more than $400,000 less than the first truck they sought to buy. P-J photo by Gregory Bacon

MAYVILLE — A proposal to purchase a new fire truck for the village fire department has again been rejected.

During a special meeting, the Mayville Village Board failed to approve a bond resolution to order a new commercial pumper fire engine for $788,712.

There are five members of the village board — the mayor and four trustees. The board voted 3-1 in favor of the bond resolution, with Trustee Mark Perry voting no. Even though the majority voted in favor, bond resolutions require a minimum of four votes and Trustee Bill Ward was not in attendance.

The Mayville Fire Department has three trucks — a ladder truck, a rescue and the engine. The engine truck is a 1996 vehicle and has multiple issues with it.

In August, the Mayville Village Board unanimously rejected a proposal to spend $1.2 million on a fire truck.

The Fire Committee went back to work and changed the specifications. The village went out for bid and received two offers — a $668,872 truck and a $788,712 truck.

During a budget workshop in January, members of the fire department went over the two bids. Chief Rusty Hardenburg said the lower bid truck wouldn’t meet their needs. It added that it was a “spec” truck being built, while the other truck would fit what they’re looking for.

Officials seemed to be in agreement that this $788,712 truck would be approved. They also established a special reserve account where ambulance billing funds received would go.

Hardenburg said the department is disappointed with Perry’s vote.

“Right now the truck committee does not know where to go from here. It seems as if the one board member that voted no is an expert as to what the department needs when they have never been in a fire department before,” he said.

Perry defended his decision.

“I didn’t feel comfortable that we really figured out a way to pay for it without kicking the can down the road. I felt there was a lot of suppositions that would happen rather than concrete facts,” he said.

Perry has been outspoken at village board meetings, calling for Mayville and neighboring fire departments to merge. Mayville Fire Department officials said in January they were open to discussions like that.

Perry said he realizes he has upset a number of people with his vote.

“I understand the fire guys, it’s an emotional thing and I highly honor their service … but we have to do what’s right for our taxpayers and I think we’re just rushing the game along,” he said.

Perry said he recognizes the need is still there and initially just wanted to table the bond resolution. When that proposal failed, he decided to vote against it.

The village board has the option of bringing the bond resolution back when all five members are in attendance to see if they will have four votes in favor. Mayor Rick Syper said he wants to discuss this more among the board before bringing it back for a vote.

Hardenburg said he doesn’t know how long the $788,712 bid will be good for. Even if the village board approved the bond resolution at its last meeting, the truck was expected to take three years to build.

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