The San Luis City Council voted on Oct. 20 to buy a new $1.04 million fire truck equipped with a 100-foot ladder, a purchase fire officials say is needed to protect the taller downtown of the future. Though the budget has been severely strained by the rough economy and a state government that has been raiding city coffers, city council members said a worn-out fire engine and safety concerns were reasons enough for the expensive truck.
The council voted 4-1 to replace the current ladder truck, a 1993 model with 82,000 miles, which will be placed in reserve.
The city will buy the truck with a no-down-payment financing plan that boosts the final cost of the truck to more than $1.5 million over 16 years.
The city has several buildings that can’t be easily reached with the current ladder truck and recent building guidelines pave the way for taller buildings downtown. The council approved a fee of $1.89 per square foot for new buildings taller than 50 feet to help pay for the engine; the city’s current ladder truck has only a 75-foot ladder.
Councilman Alan K. Settle was the sole council member to vote against the new fire truck. Though he agreed there is a need for it, he said the economy had put too much of a strain on the budget for him to vote for such a large expenditure.
“We’re spending money we just don’t have,” Settle said. “We don’t know what the future holds financially.”
The cost of the truck will be cushioned
by a $25,000 annual contribution by Cal Poly, in addition to the $225,000 the university pays the city annually for fire protection. ∆