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‘It’s expensive’

October 11, 2019 by Brian Jopek

The town of Winchester recently sold the water tanker the town’s fire department had used for some time. It was over 30 years old and was a former town truck that had been converted at some point to a tanker with the addition of a 2,000 gallon tank. 

It was the best the town could do at the time and ended up serving for several years. 

Now, with that truck gone and the town’s fire department without a tanker, the town board has begun looking into a replacement, one of the items discussed at the most recent regular meeting on Monday. 

Town supervisor Sulo Wainio, a member of the fire department, said there were two quotes for new trucks, both based on a Peterbilt truck cab and chassis. 

He said the cab and chassis would be roughly $113,000, payable upon completion and delivery to the vendor, who would complete the installation of the tank and its outfitting.

“The total (estimate) for the truck right now is around $350,000,” Wainio said. “It’s expensive, but the thing about the truck is you’re looking at a 30- to 40-year life expectancy of the truck. So, you’re basically looking at around $10,000 a year in what it would cost the town.”

He said the possibility of purchasing a used tanker has been brought up.

“A couple issues with that,” Wainio said. “The reason the truck was turned in early is either A, they outgrew it, which is highly unusual or there’s issues with it.”

He said both the fire chief and assistant fire chief are in favor of a new truck. 

Town chairman Joe Discianno asked what the timeline would be.

Wainio said once the chassis/cab is ordered, it can take up to six weeks for that to be built with the rest of it taking six to nine months. 

“It’s close to a year when you’re building these,” town supervisor Galen Brownewell said. 

Wainio said the thought was the bulk of cost for the tanker could be financed using a loan the town could obtain from the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners for Public Lands.

Town Clerk Joan Wainio said currently, the interest rate on a six to 10 year loan from the BCPL is currently 3.25%.

For an 11 to 20 year loan, the interest rate is 3.75%. 

“We have to get our numbers, obviously, to see what we’d be borrowing,” Joan Wainio said.

“We might have enough money for the chassis in our reserve right now,” Sulo Wainio said. 

“We do,” Joan Wainio responded, adding with a BCPL loan, the window for repayment on equipment is 20 years. 

Seeing as how there needed to be more information and a definite number for the loan, the town board tabled the tanker truck purchase for now. 

Another equipment purchase tabled for the time being was purchase of a new patrol truck, which Discianno said could be in the $200,000 range. 

If the town board ultimately decides to purchase a new truck, it would replace a 2010 single axle Peterbilt. 

Other matters

On other items, the town board:

• Approved a bid of $1,997.42 from Great Escape Technologies for installation of a security camera system. 

• Heard an update on summer aquatic invasive species work on lakes around the town from Emily Heald, water program for the North Lakeland Discovery Center. The NLDC is asking for $15,000 from the town of Winchester to help fund its AIS program in 2020. 

• Approved a motion to have an agreement between the town and Bike Trails, Inc., placed on the agenda for the next regular town board meeting. 

A question was raised as to whether the town board’s approval of the agreement with Bike Trails Inc. in April was valid as the agenda item for that meeting was a maintenance agreement between the town and Vilas County for a new stretch of bike trail and not between the town and Bike Trails, Inc. 

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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