Pitkin County to service Aspen fire trucks, vehicles
September 25, 2014
Pitkin County commissioners unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement Wednesday with the Aspen Fire Protection District that will allow the county to maintain, repair and supply fuel to the district's vehicles.
The Fire Department has 23 vehicles that were maintained by a service mechanic within the department, but that person moved out of the area. Brian Pettit, the county public works director, said the county Fleet Services Department already maintains 187 county vehicles with five mechanics and that an additional mechanic would need to be hired to work directly with the Fire Department vehicles.
"It's a big deal for us," said Aspen Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Balentine. "Knowing the capacity you guys have and what we need, it's a perfect fit. I'm excited that we're finally getting something in place that fits us long-term."
The cost of bringing in a full-time mechanic, along with training, uniforms and benefits, will cost the county an estimated $88,500. The county expects to cover those costs from fees charged to the Fire Department. The county projects 900 hours of maintenance per year for the Fire Department vehicles, which would bring in close to $100,000 in labor charges.
The partnership appears to be a win-win situation. The county obtains additional department capacity by hiring another mechanic and having the hourly shop rate offset the costs. The Fire Department benefits by receiving priority maintenance service for its fleet.
"It's important that we're getting dedicated man-hours to maintain the Fire Department vehicles," said county Fleet Manager Jonah Frank. "Those hours will help us with the other county vehicles during downtime for the Fire Department fleet. We're a big team out at the maintenance shop."