PARIS — Selectmen have authorized the purchase of a new Fire Department command vehicle, rather than dump more money into the 10-year-old SUV it uses.
The 2004 Ford Explorer was originally purchased by the Police Department and turned over to the Fire Department in 2008.
According to Town Manager Amy Bernard, the SUV is only worth $1,000, but the department has spent close to $9,350 for repairs since the Police Department handed it over.
So far this fiscal year, the department has invested $1,500 in repairs and it still needs approximately $3,500 more to fix problems with ball joints and rust, Paris fire Chief Brad Frost said. The Explorer’s mileage only reflects the miles driven, not the endless hours of idling at emergency scenes, he said.
Frost regularly uses the Explorer as his primary vehicle and it is regularly utilized as a command platform to coordinate personnel at the scene of an emergency.
Frost said he would like to get a slightly larger SUV because the Explorer is almost bursting with communications gear and other equipment.
Although selectmen did not specify if the vehicle should be purchased new or used, Frost said he was leaning toward buying new, considering the municipal fleet discounts and three-year warranty available from dealerships.
According to Bernard, the only used vehicle Frost found that fit the bill was a 2004 Dodge Durango, with 90,000 miles on it that would cost more than $10,500.
New vehicles, on the other hand, cost between $27,600 and $39,000 and interest rates on a loan to finance the purchase could be in the mid 2 percent range, Bernard said.
The Fire Department also has $10,000 in a vehicle reserve account to fund the purchase, she said.