By Jessica Mathews /

The Green Oak Township Fire Department is looking to replace an old ladder aerial truck, possibly with federal grant funding.

Fire Chief Kevin Gentry was before the board at last week’s meeting to discuss the purchase. The 1995 Ladder 81 truck is the department’s only aerial apparatus and is 95 feet in height. It’s been used at numerous residential and commercial fires and Gentry noted that it has actually saved the lives of township residents but it’s time to go.

He said the ladder truck is 27-years-old and has 3,000-plus hours on the engine and it’s been time for a while. Gentry said the truck has become an increasing maintenance drain, even with having their own internal mechanic – noting most ladder trucks only last 20 years.

The original replacement plan in 2020 involved going out for a millage but then the pandemic hit. The truck cost pre-COVID was $950,000 and Gentry reported it’s now $1,371,740 for a bare-bones truck, which he said was very unfortunate and they’re not happy about it. There was also an 11% price increase set to go into effect the day after the meeting, so the board granted the request to lock in the current price.

While the market isn’t huge, Gentry said there are some departments that still buy used trucks and they should be able to sell the old one.

The Department has purchased trucks from the company, Rosenbauer, in the past. It was stated the company makes good reliable trucks, is always responsive to any issues and also has a good warranty program.

Gentry noted they were able to come up with an agreement with the company stating that if the August millage is not passed, then the contract is null and void and they can walk away with no loss. Further, if the department is successful in obtaining federal grant funding, then it wouldn’t need to use money from the millage.

The department is also submitting an application for federal funding through Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s office.

Gentry said the guidance for the grants keeps changing and they were recently informed that fire station buildings or renovations no longer qualify but the ladder truck was eligible. He said they’ll submit for full funding and see what happens.