Champaign passes on pumper truck bids

The Champaign Fire Department may have to wait a little longer for new pumper trucks.

Champaign council members voted to reject bid proposals for the purchase of up to three new vehicles at their weekly meeting Tuesday, saying the proposals were incomplete and bids came in too high.

In June, two proposals for the purchase of new fire engines were submitted to the fire department. However, after being reviewed, Deputy Fire Chief Eric Mitchell said staff determined that the proposals did not meet their specific requirements and cost too much.

“It just strictly came down to pricing, and the vendors’ (costs were) more than we budgeted to pay,” Mayor Don Gerard said.

The vehicle replacement fund budget allocates a net amount of $562,000 for each truck. City staff has not yet made a recommendation on how many trucks will be needed.

Michael LaDue, District 2, said the cost depends on how many trucks have to be purchased. One to three trucks could be bought, but LaDue said “the more trucks we get, the more potential savings.”

Mitchell said the city will not lose any money during the process of finding new vendors.

He said the city is looking for more vendors to submit proposals than were previously submitted.

“We hope that by making revisions to specifications, it will create more competition between vendors and become cost-effective for the city,” Mitchell said.