The village of Brookfield is poised to spend close to $1 million to add four new vehicles to its fleet in 2016. 

On May 9, village trustees are expected to approve an $800,000 loan from the First National Bank of Brookfield in order to fund the purchase of a new fire engine for the fire department and a bigger, more-powerful grader for public works.

Meanwhile, the village board on May 9 is also expected to approve spending about $60,000 to purchase two 2016 Ford Escape Police Interceptor vehicles, which will serve as squad cars for the force.

The bank loan will be paid off over a three-year period, according to a memo to the village board dated April 25 from Doug Cooper, the village’s finance director. The interest on the loan will reportedly be 2.25 percent and the resulting interest expense to pay off the loan will be between $27,000 and $32,000, according to Cooper.

The new fire engine is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $525,000 to $560,000 and likely will be purchased through the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative, which serves as a procurement agency for more than 5,000 local taxing bodies in 48 states. 

According to Fire Chief Patrick Lenzi, it would be the first time the department has ever used a cooperative purchasing agency to buy a fire engine. Other Chicago-area fire departments using HGAC for vehicle purchases include village of Oak Brook and Westmont, the Orland Fire Protection District, the Tri-State Fire Protection District and the Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District.

The cooperative takes care of the competitive bidding process and manufacturers submit stock rigs that can be customized. The cooperative’s national purchasing power reportedly results in more competitive pricing.

Brookfield’s new fire engine (of the type sometimes referred to as a pumper) will be capable of pumping out 1,500 gallons of water per minute and will have a 500-gallon capacity tank. It will be capable of carrying all of the hose load for Fire Station 1, located on Shields Avenue, and will serve as the front-line engine for that station.

It will replace the department’s 1986 Kovatch pumper, which has been the department’s reserve engine since 2007. According to Lenzi, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that fire engines be placed in reserve after 15 years and should be replaced after 20.

“In Brookfield, we definitely get our money out of the rigs,” Lenzi said.

The department’s 1991 engine, which at 25 years old serves as the front-line engine at Station 1, will be placed in reserve. The 1986 engine will be sold at auction.

The last time the Brookfield Fire Department sold an engine at auction — in 2007 the department auctioned off its 1980 Hendrickson — it went for $7,000 to fight fires in Poland, according to Lenzi.

The Brookfield Fire Department’s fleet comprises a front-line engine and an ambulance at each station, a reserve engine at Station 1, a ladder truck at Station 1, a utility van, and a Ford pickup at Station 2 on Broadway Avenue, which hauls a rescue boat.

Because the lead time for delivery of fire engines can be up to 10 months, Lenzi said he hoped to have the new engine active by the end of year.

New grader for alleys

The remainder of the bank loan will be used to fund the purchase of a larger, more powerful road grader to address the village’s chronically dodgy, often water-logged gravel alleys.

Last summer, the village rented a larger grader to essentially dig up and re-grade several alleys. While that kind of attention won’t permanently fix the problem, Village Manager Keith Sbiral said the goal was to stop simply scraping the surfaces of gravel alleys.

“The smaller grader has no ability to really re-grade them to the extent that a larger machine would,” Sbiral said, adding that in the trial run with the rental vehicle last year, “we were able to re-grade and roll alleys with far better result that the little [grader].”

New squads for police

The village of Brookfield will separately fund the purchase of two patrol vehicles for the police department. The vehicles will be purchased from Joe Rizza Ford, which will match the Suburban Purchasing Cooperative’s bid price of $27,347 each for the vehicles, which were described by Police Chief James Episcopo as Ford SUV Interceptors.

The SUVs are preferred over the sedan model that Ford is offering, Episcopo said, because they offer more room for the officer and the amount of equipment police carry in their vehicles today.

The vehicle will replace two Ford Crown Victoria squad cars, which are five and six years old and have been driven about 100,000 miles apiece.

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