Salem Fire and Rescue Association purchases new truck after years of fundraising

Purchase met with anger by the council, who was bypassed by mayor for sale of old truck

The Salem Fire Department purchased a new 2018 brush truck — at no cost to the city — after years of past and current members volunteering their time to raise the funds to replace the previous 21-year-old truck.

The purchase of the truck, however, was not met entirely with celebration by the city council, who faulted Mayor Dan Patterson for failing to convene a special session meeting to approve the sale of the old truck. Patterson gave fire department chief Steve Nichting the OK to sell the truck without approval by the city council.

“The city council is supposed to have approval for the sale of city property,” city counselor Mary Hoyer said during a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The new truck, a 2018 Dodge Brush Truck, was purchased for $27,000 with the help of rebates and the trade-in value for the old truck, which was the value given by Blue Book, Nichting said. The truck is outfitted with a new front bumper, a wedge for the front, aggressive tires, a radio, new lights, a siren and lettering.

Nichting is also hopeful the department will receive two grants to help purchase a new slide in tank and fire pump. The grants are from Pipeline Company and Walmart Distribution Center for a total of $15,000.

“You have a brand-new truck sitting out there,” Nichting said, frustrated by the council’s response.

City counselor Chris Feehan said she would not like to overshadow the accomplishment the Fire Department made in purchasing the truck.

“I’d like to thank the Fire Department, and it’s unfortunate a mistake, a bad decision, whatever you want to call it, would overshadow the accomplishment we made,” she said. “During Old Settlers and Old Threshers, these guys are out there, not playing with their kids in the park, not watching them ride rides, they’re doing other things for the department and that’s how this money was raised.”

Nichting also thanked the department, including their families, for the hours they donated to the City of Salem over the years volunteering at fundraising events that enabled the Fire and Rescue Association to purchase this truck.

The next Salem City Council meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m.