Money dominated the discussion at the Oct. 12 meeting of the Paragould City Council.

The council chose to buy two vehicles for its Fire and Police Departments, respectively.

As expected, the council voted to buy a 75-foot ladder truck for the fire department, as discussed at the previous meeting. And while it did not buy the lowest-priced vehicle, it followed the recommendation of Paragould Fire Chief Kevin Lang that it best met department needs.

It bought an under-construction Pierce 75-foot Enforcer for $799,989. The vehicle is to be delivered in February. “There are 11 vehicles we could get,” Lang told the council’s Fire Committee in its meeting before the regular council meeting.

According to materials he made available to the committee, the vehicles ranged in price from $715,950 to $1,059,500. But Lang said several were ruled out immediately. “There are three that are sold ‘as is’,” he said, “and we need a warranty.” Of the remainder, six are under construction, which means that when they are delivered, they will be new with warranties as new vehicles.

However, the department already uses Pierce fire trucks, is familiar with them, and the manufacturer offers a mobile service warranty. In addition, the vendor, EVS, has a service center in Memphis for any major repair work, while the service center for the next closest vendor (Firemaster, which sells Ferrara ladder trucks) is in Louisiana. Also, Lang said, the prime consideration in choosing the Pierce truck (after the 75-foot ladder and the single rear axle for maneuverability) was storage space on the truck. “And this one has lots of it,” he said. “The others don’t.”

Though the truck is to be delivered in February, the city is to pay for the vehicle out of current year funds. Lang said the prepayment is expected to gain the city a discount of between $4,000 and $5,000.

The council also bought a 2020 3/4-ton Dodge Ram 2500 Tradesman for its Emergency Department at a cost of $31,365. “The police department is short vehicles and we need a truck,” said Emergency Department Director Mike McCammon to the council’s Police Committee, which has assumed responsibility for the newly created department.

McCammon explained that his department has a fully functional emergency operations center in a trailer, but must depend on the fire department to haul it. “And sometimes they are not available,” he said, “like for the Jonesboro tornado.”

The Emergency Department has an Interceptor police car which, though serviceable, is not able to haul the trailer. The Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), on the other hand, has an unreliable vehicle, and McCammon expressed willingness to give his vehicle to CID in return for the truck.

McCammon acknowledged the truck, from Landers Dodge in Little Rock, is not a state contract truck. “But he [the dealer] is meeting the state bid price,” he said.

Items for purchase that meet the state bid do not require the purchasing agency to undertake the bidding process for items costing more than $20,000.

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