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Windsor shops for new fire truck

WINDSOR – The Windsor Fire Department is moving forward with the purchase of a new mini pumper with the blessing of the Windsor Board of Commissioners.

While they proceed, Windsor Commissioner David Overton will work to try and get help with the funding of the $172,192 truck through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development.

Last week, Windsor Fire Chief Billy Smithwick appeared before the board to present his findings after inspecting two bids that were received by companies interested in providing the pumper.

Smithwick said five bids packages were delivered, but only two were returned. One was from Triad Fire Inc. and the other was from C.W. Williams. Triad is a representative of Pierce trucks while Williams sells Rosenbauer products.

According to the fire chief, the department inspected both bids and chose the higher of the two – the Triad bid – because of several issues with the Williams bid.

“After doing some pretty intense comparison, we are recommending the Pierce truck,” Smithwick said.

Some of the issues noted by the Windsor Firemen included potential problems with rollup doors, the water tank, wheel covers and the body fender.

Smithwick said the department was invited to take a closer look at a Rosenbauer truck and said that was the main reason for choosing the Pierce vehicle.

“Upon returning to our station, we all met and decided that we were disappointed in the workmanship we saw,” Smithwick said in his report. “The welding was not professional and the electrical wiring also left a lot to be desired.”

Smithwick said both bidding companies represented their manufacturers well, but the fireman in Windsor felt the Pierce was the better purchase.

Overton asked how long Triad Fire Inc. would hold the bid price and Smithwick said probably 90 days, but the bids were already more than 30 days old.

“I whole-heartedly agree with the purchase,” Overton said. “We had discussed the possibility of checking with USDA for some help. I know (Town Administrator) Allen (Castelloe) cannot do that right now because of his work with the flooding, but if you would allow, I can do it.”

Commissioner Bob Brown said he understood the town had been turned down in their efforts for help, but Castelloe said that was not the case. He said USDA simply had run out of funding.

The problem, he said, was that it could possibly be the first of the year before any funding was available.

Brown said if that was the case, he felt the town should attempt to get the funding assistance.

Windsor Mayor Jimmy Hoggard said he thought it would behoove the town to check into the option of getting grant and low-interest loan assistance, but not at the cost of the project.

“If it jeopardizes our bid, we should know by the next meeting and be able to move forward at that point,” he said.

Commissioner Collins Cooper offered a motion to authorize Overton to proceed with contacting USDA about the fire truck and about a police car that was needed. Mayor Pro-Tempore Hoyt Cooper offered a second and it passed without objection.