Lt. Jeff Clark

Auburn Fire Department Lt. Jeff Clark gives a presentation to members of the Auburn City Council Tuesday night about replacing two of the department's vehicles. 

AUBURN — The city of Auburn plans to issue a $1.8 million bond to finance the purchase of two new vehicles for the Auburn Fire Department. 

During Tuesday night's Auburn City Council meeting, fire department Lt. Jeff Clark said the new vehicles would replace two fire apparatus from the 1990s: a 1999 pumper engine and a 1990 ladder truck. Both are currently used as reserve vehicles. 

The 1999 engine will cost $800,000 to replace. Clark said corrosion on the frame and in the water tank, as well of years of wear and tear, make it impractical to attempt to refurbish. The fire department spent $28,000 in repair costs for the engine in the last five years. 

It will cost $1 million for the department to replace the 110-foot ladder truck. The truck, which is 27 years old, has some safety issues. Clark said it is unlikely that the truck will pass next year's annual ladder safety inspection. The department has already spent $108,000 repairing the truck since 2013. 

"Obviously, if you have something new, it's likely you're going to spend less on overall maintenance costs," he said. 

The department currently has an arsenal of five fire engines, two trucks, one rescue vehicle and five staff vehicles. Clark said it is the industry standard to utilize an apparatus for at least 20 years — 10 years as an active service vehicle followed by 10 years as a reserve. 

Clark said the department will save $80,000 by ordering both apparatus at the same time. He said they will each take around a year to build and predicts they will be delivered in 2019. 

The department also decided to push off replacing its rescue truck, which was purchased in 1989, until 2022. The truck was originally scheduled for replacement in 2014.  

"We have to recognize there's always a need to replace equipment," Clark said. "It's just the nature of the beast."

In other news

• A representative from GHD Consulting Services recommended the city look into potentially purchasing the powder-activated carbon system that was used this year to treat harmful algal blooms in the city's drinking water. 

Engineer Stephen Waldvogel said there were "consistent detections" of microsystin toxins in the raw, unfinished water. However, all samples of finished drinking water were non-detect for microsystin and other toxins. 

"The project was well worth it," Waldvogel said. 

He said the state will potentially provide funding to help the city purchase the PAC system. Waldvogel recommended the city permanently install the system by no later than 2019. 

Waldvogel also recommended that the city clean out the lagoon — where sludge and excess carbon gather — "more frequently than it has been done." He said the city last cleaned the lagoon in 1995. 

• The date for the next zoning code public hearing has been changed to the Dec. 14 city council meeting. City Manager Jeff Dygert said the first reading of the final zoning code draft will be released during the Dec. 7 council meeting and the code will be voted on during the Dec. 21 meeting.    

Staff writer Natalie Brophy can be reached at (315)282-2239 or natalie.brophy@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @brophy_natalie. 

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