The Riverside Village Board earlier this month voted unanimously to purchase a new Pierce Enforcer pumper truck for the fire department for $698,000 from the Appleton, Wisconsin-based manufacturer, the first of two pumper trucks scheduled to be replaced in the next couple of years.

Because the vehicle was purchased using pricing obtained through a consortium of government agencies, the village did not elect to competitively bid the purchase. The purchase is being funded by using a portion of the roughly $1.2 million the village received in 2021 and 2022 from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act enacted to assist government agencies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Riverside Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley, the manufacturer has estimated it will take between 18 to 20 months to deliver the new engine.

“I wish it was sooner, but they are backed up on orders.” Buckley told the Landmark.

Many government agencies have chosen to use ARPA money to fund the purchase of big-ticket items like fire engines and ambulances, which they otherwise would have to delay or take out loans to purchase.

Riverside used about $300,000 in ARPA funds to buy a new ambulance earlier this year. Brookfield in 2022 used about $450,000 in ARPA funds to pay a portion of the $1.25 million it needed to purchase a new combination pumper/ladder engine for its fire department. The balance was funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Once in service, the new Pierce Enforcer pumper will replace a 2003 E-One engine as the Riverside Fire Department’s primary response engine.

In addition to responding to fire calls, the engine responds to all emergency medical calls along with an ambulance. The department will retain its 1996 E-One engine, which is the reserve vehicle but in much better condition mechanically than its younger counterpart.

According to an Oct. 6 memo from Buckley to the village board, the 2003 pumper has driven nearly 90,000 miles and has logged nearly 1,000 engine hours.

While the miles themselves are high, the engine hours place a lot of wear and tear on the vehicle. Even though the wheels might not be moving, the engine at the scene of a fire operates at high RPMs, similar to driving down a highway, in order to pump water from the engine to the hoses.

The 1996 engine has driven roughly one-third of the miles of its frontline counterpart and has logged about one-third fewer engine hours. The engine was custom designed for Riverside and carries all of the department’s rescue equipment and other supplies.

Riverside officials have scheduled replacing the 1996 pumper in 2024, according to the village’s 10-year Capital Improvement Plan. However, there’s not a funding source for buying that engine right now.