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Covington purchases $1.43 million ladder truck for fire department
Replacement for one in current fleet to arrive within 18 months

COVINGTON, Ga. — Replacing one of the Covington Fire Department’s trucks with a 100-foot, mid-mount ladder truck will cost nearly $1.43 million.

During its meeting Monday, Dec. 7, the Covington City Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase a new ladder truck in the amount of $1,429,800 from Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. and an associated budget amendment to cover up-front costs, contingent upon the city attorney’s review of the agreement.

Initial costs will equal approximately $285,960 (20% of the purchase price). Covington Mayor Steve Horton said the amount would be transferred from the city’s General Fund balance to the necessary fund accounts to meet the required payment. Covington Fire Chief Jeremy Holmes said the overall price tag was a bit lower than he originally anticipated by more than $100,000. If the council waits to issue a purchase order after Feb. 1, there would be an increase in total cost of 3%. 

Once the truck is delivered to the city, the total cost will be financed over 10 years through a Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Master Lease program, equating to roughly $157,000 per year of debt service, Covington City Manager Scott Andrews said. At that time, $285,960 will be used to replenish the General Fund balance.

Councilman Don Floyd was first to vocalize his support of the purchase by calling for the initial motion for approval. The former fire chief said ladders typically have 20-year lifespan, so “it’s not like we’re buying a ladder truck every budget cycle.” But one concern Floyd brought to light was about getting the truck on time.

Holmes said the truck would likely take up to 18 months to build and deliver to Covington. Floyd asked if there was a penalty clause for the manufacturer being late on the order. Holmes said there was not because their delivery dates had been as early as 12 months in the past.

“At least ask them to see if that’s something that they would look at,” Floyd said. “My experience with Pierce was very positive in that nature.”

Holmes agreed with Floyd’s stance and said the department would seek information about a penalty clause with the company.

Councilman Kenneth Morgan asked if the purchase would be a replacement or an addition to the fleet. Holmes said it would be a replacement, but he was not yet sure which truck it would replace. He said the department had recently been experiencing trouble with a few different trucks.

Ladder fire trucks are commonly used to reach high locations, but they can provide a high vantage point for spraying water and creating ventilation as well. They also double as an access route and an escape route for firefighters.