Hudson is buying a new giant ladder truck for the Fire Department. The discussion of replacing Tower 32, the KME Aerial Cat, acquired in 2001, has been going on for quite a while. In 2012, Nick Haddad, then an alderman representing the First Ward, calculated that in the ten years since the ladder truck had been acquired, the City had spend $150,000 in repairs--an average of $15,000 a year. This information was shared at a Council meeting at which Fire Department budget transfers were being approved to amass $15,449.59 in the account designated for maintenance and repair of equipment. About $9,000 of that amount was needed for repairs to Tower 32.
At the end of 2014, a capital reserve fund was proposed for major capital projects that were "on the horizon." Among them was the purchase of a new ladder truck. The plan was to allocate $200,000 for the fund in 2015 and $200,000 in subsequent years. City treasurer Heather Campbell and then Council president Don Moore were advocates for establishing a capital reserve fund; Mayor Bill Hallenbeck was adamantly opposed, because it would require an increase in property taxes, estimated to be about $40 a year on a house assessed at $250,000. At the end of 2015, however, a capital reserve fund was established, with an initial contribution of $150,000. Campbell told Gossips there have been two subsequent contributions to the fund: $100,000 in 2017 and $100,000 in 2019. The fund now amounts to $352,702, which will be used to offset a portion of the expense of a new ladder truck.
In December 2019, the Common Council unanimously passed a bond resolution authorizing "the acquisition of a ladder truck at an estimated maximum cost of $1,440,000 and authorizing the issuance of serial bonds . . . in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $1,087,500 . . . to finance the cost thereof." On December 31, 2019, the Hudson Fire Department announced it had awarded a contract to E-One to build a new aerial truck for the City of Hudson. The equipment is being built to the department's specifications, and delivery of the truck is expected early in 2021.
At the Common Council Finance Committee meeting this past Tuesday, during the discussion of the City's revenue loss and expenditures in 2020, Alderman Rebecca Wolff (First Ward) suggested that the purchase of the ladder truck should be canceled. City treasurer Heather Campbell told her the contract had been in place for a year. It was also pointed out that the Council had unanimously authorized the purchase and the issuance of bonds for the purchase in December 2019. Nevertheless, Wolff made the same suggestion during the regular meeting of the Common Council.
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