Roseville FD gets go-ahead for two new vehicles

The Roseville Fire Department is getting two new fire trucks, which will be delivered over the next two years.

The Roseville City Council approved the department’s request for the $1.5 million worth of equipment at its Feb. 11 meeting. The cash for the purchase is coming from the fire department’s capital improvement fund.

Fire department officials explained that the new apparatus, a fire engine and a ladder truck, would be delivered in line with the department’s existing equipment replacement plan, though by ordering both vehicles now and at the same time, the city can save a significant amount of money.

Deputy Fire Chief David Brosnahan told the council the department seeks to replace a fire engine that was purchased in 2003 — it’s been driven more than 100,000 miles — and a ladder truck that was purchased in 1998. He said both vehicles have ongoing mechanical and maintenance issues.

The department is purchasing the vehicles through the Texas-based Houston-Galveston Area Council, a cooperative purchasing program, which allows the department to forgo the formal bidding process.

Fire Chief Tim O’Neill told council members that the department and others within the city have used the program, and that it gives the department more control over the purchase than simply accepting the lowest bid.

The department is purchasing the fire trucks from Chisago County-based manufacturer Rosenbauer America, from which it bought two other fire engines, in 2010 and 2014, using the same purchasing program.

“They bring some great fleet consistency for us,” said Battalion Chief Neil Sjostrom, pointing out that Roseville firefighters will have built-in familiarity with the new trucks, while having the manufacturer located just up Interstate 35 makes for speedy repairs.

With its plan to buy both vehicles at once, Rosenbauer will pass on manufacturing savings of $43,000 to the department. Brosnahan said the department should be able to sell the old engine and ladder truck for a total of up to $80,000, cutting into the $1.5 million expense.


Staffing and process

Though council members ultimately signed off on the purchase, some expressed their displeasure with the purchasing process, which they said made them feel rushed.

“I think in the future, we talk [about bids or other ways of buying] six months ago,” said council member Jason Etten. “What’s the process? ... Instead of having partially signed contracts in our packet.”

He added, “We’re put in a situation where if we say ‘no’ we look silly, if we say ‘yes’ we’re just going along.”

The council is also in the process of considering a fire department request for nine more full-time firefighters at a cost of up to $1 million per year. 

With the purchase of the two new fire trucks, Mayor Dan Roe said a possible source of funding for the new personnel could come from skipping the next phase of department vehicle replacement, which is slated for 2025.

Fire officials will be back before the city council on March 25 for more discussion about the department’s staffing request.


–Mike Munzenrider can be reached at or 651-748-7813. 

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