Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 5, 2001

Payment options explained for LP fire truck

By Patrice Salmon

Members of the Lester Prairie Fire Department met with representatives from Bergen and Winsted Townships and the City of Lester Prairie Wednesday about the purchase of a new fire truck for the department.

The townships had previously agreed that they would contribute to the cost of the new fire truck.

Fred Pawelk, a member of the committee getting information about the truck, presented facts about the payment schedule and pre-payment options.

Discounts are available if the chassis is pre-paid.

"Everything is accurate as I see it. What I want to go over tonight is the financing, whether you want to pre-pay or lease, and whether the load would be paid over a five or seven year period," Pawelk said.

The total contract price was $233,842. This is the same price which was quoted at the Bergen and Winsted Township meetings, and presented to the Lester Prairie City Council.

"First, we all agree to buy the truck," Mayor Eric Angvall said. "Both townships told the city they would agree."

Discussion followed about whether or not Winsted Township would have its portion of money to contribute.

The concern was if Winsted Township has enough money in its funds to pay both the annual charge for fire protection and an amount toward the truck purchase.

Discounts would apply if the chassis would be paid off in advance. Total price of the chassis was $92,533.

A savings of $4,986 would be realized if the whole chassis price would be paid in advance, or $2,493 if only half is pre-paid.

To take advantage of the pre-pay discounts, the check for the full amount must be sent in when the signed contracts are mailed in.

"What happens if Winsted doesn't go along with this?" asked someone from Bergen Township.

"They've agreed to go ahead with the purchase," said Angvall.

"When we set the levy, it would be nice to see the amount. Iit may be five, or it may be seven years," replied someone from Winsted Township.

Pawelk pointed out that once the pre-pay is done, the first payment due by the townships wouldn't be until one year after the truck is delivered.

If the chassis is paid for up front, about $5,000 would be saved, with a remaining balance of $136,322.96. This amount could be financed over five years for an annual payment of $31,027.

The annual payment, for a seven-year lease would be $23,269.

"If we go for five, we'd serve everybody, by paying less than we planned," said Angvall.

There was still concern among the Winsted Township representatives that the citizens in their township might not be happy spending the money.

"No matter what, there'll always be somebody out there who's not happy," replied Angvall.

The amount of money that Winsted Township would have to produce is $7,430. The next payment would be due in about 18 months.

It will take about eight months for the truck to be built and delivered, and the first payment is due about a year after that, explained Pawelk.

Winsted Township is responsible for 18 percent of the cost of the truck, Lester Prairie is required to pay 53 percent of the cost, and Bergen Township will have to pay 29 percent of the cost.

The percentages were computed based on property values, and would remain constant over the length of the loan period.

"The percentages are based of valuation of the sections of the areas we service," said City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk.

The availability of grant funds through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was brought up. The funds are available through the government, and would require that a grant be written to apply for funding.

The money is available to cities with fewer than 30,000 people. Details on the application process have not been released.

The name of the Rev. John Hogue was suggested as someone with grant writing experience. Hogue has previously written grants for the City of Lester Prairie and the Lester Prairie School District.

The grant money may be used for the purchase of personal protective equipment, fire equipment, to train firefighting personnel, and fire truck purchases.

The actual percentage rate of the loan has not been determined, and because the bid for the truck was not made within the amount time specified by Luverne Fire Apparatus of Brandon, S.D. the final cost of the truck would have to be verified.

A cost increase was thought go into effect Feb. 1.

Winsted Township residents will be able to hear more from Fred Pawelk at the township's monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m.

The meeting will be in the Winsted Council Chambers. Pawelk will discuss the details of the fire truck purchase and will be available to answer questions.

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