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ACC commissioners to vote on request for new fire trucks

Athens-Clarke County is on track to get several new fire trucks, if ACC commissioners approve.

ACC Fire and Emergency Services officials are asking commissioners to purchase four fire trucks and one hazardous materials truck, with a total price tag of $5.6 million dollars. According to county staff, all five of the trucks they want to replace are nearing the end of their service life. All four of the fire trucks would be between 18-19 years old before the requested replacements would be delivered, while the county’s hazmat truck would be 22 years old. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that trucks be replaced after 15 years of service.

Commissioners will need to act fast, however. Fire officials say if they don’t sign a contract before March 25, the total price could increase by as much as $642,000.

The price of firefighting equipment, including fire trucks, has skyrocketed in recent years. The county paid some $614,000 for a similar truck in 2020. Four years later, the replacement cost has soared to just over $1 million per truck.

Commissioners in recent years have explored a variety of options for paying for new fire apparatus, including purchasing fewer replacement trucks and borrowing the money. However, ACC officials are advising commissioners to instead use some of the county’s healthy budget surplus to pay for the trucks.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.