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New Horton/Navistar Ambulance Nearing Delivery for Arlington Heights Fire Department

Sat February 22 2014 7:17 pm
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A new Arlington Heights Fire Department ambulance is near the finishing stages at Horton Emergency Vehicles in Grove City, Ohio. The ambulance budget was presented to the Village Board on May 20, 2013. After trade-in, discounts, and allowances the cost was determined at $219,257 on a budget of $225,000.

New Arlington Heights Fire Department Navistar ambulance in the final stages of delivery.

Two similar Harvester ambulances were delivered in November 2012, and went into service in December 2012. The ambulances were two IHC 4300/Medtec ambulances, which were the first Type I ambulances put into service by the Village of Arlington Heights. Type I ambulances are based upon a heavy truck chassis and are used primarily for Advanced Life Support and rescue work. The classification is also believed to achieve a longer service life. Maintenance issues were also believed to be improved with the Harvester ambulances, which according to then Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen are more common to the other trucks in the village fleet — presumably snow plows, etc. The recently-purchased ambulance has a Navistar International (formerly known as International Harvester Company) truck cab, while the previous ambulances (before the ambulances delivered in 2012) were basically a Ford van/truck chassis with a custom-made rear compartment.

The Medtec ambulances delivered in December 2012 cost about $196,000 each. Medtec closed their business, and discontinued the design, manufacture and sale of ambulances about July 2012.

The newer ambulances were put in service at Station 1 and Station 2 in December 2012 — the two centrally-located fire stations. There is no word yet whether the newest ambulance will be placed at Station 3 or Station 4.

The ambulances costs are a shock to some, but the vehicles are the standard of many economically viable communities. At a February 16, 2009 village board meeting, the topic of ambulance billing was discussed. An Arlington Heights resident questioned the cost of ambulance fees. Some claimed the fees — $450 to $650 are too high, and some believed the fees aren’t high enough if insurance can cover the fees. Village Manager Bill Dixon replied that the fees don’t cover the cost of the trip, which can cost $1050. When the paramedic program first started in the early 1970s, there was no cost for ambulance trips. The first fees charged decades ago were about $50. There’s also some controversy because many of the ambulance runs in town pick up intoxicated individuals that are unable to care for themselves and that are also often homeless individuals. Of course, they don’t pay for the transport to the hospital in the $200,000 ambulance.

Budget information from the May 20, 2013 meeting.

The approved Fiscal Year 2014 capital budget includes $225,000 for the replacement of one ambulance (621-9003-572.50-05). The Fire Department seeks approval to take advantage of the cost savings provided by the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) Suburban Purchase Cooperative Ambulance Bid published January 21, 2013 for this purchase.

The NWMC Suburban Purchasing Cooperative, a cooperative of 135 municipalities in the six county area of Northern Illinois, has awarded a one-year agreement for Type I Additional Duty Ambulances to Foster Coach Sales of Sterling, IL for the base price of $230,576. Proposals from ambulance vendors were submitted to the NWMC Fire Core Cost Containment Committee and evaluated based on the published Request for Proposal. Foster Coach Sales (Horton Ambulances) submitted the lowest cost responsible and responsive bid, along with being in compliance with all bid specification requirements.

The Fire Department also would like to take advantage of cost savings negotiated with the vendor by making pre-payments on the chassis and ambulance conversion upon order placement. This would reduce the total cost by an additional $2,819. The vendor has proven reliable in the past and the Village would be protected by a performance bond posted by Foster Coach Sales. The vendor, Foster Coach, will provide a trade-in allowance of $8,500 for one 2006 Medtec ambulance currently in use by the Fire Department. Together the pre-payment and trade-in options would reduce the total cost of the ambulance by $11,319 for a project total of $219,257 which would be $5,743 under budget.

It is recommended that the Board of Trustees accept the lowest NWMC ambulance bid, awarding the bid to Horton Emergency Vehicles, Grove City, Ohio and its dealer, Foster Coach Sales, Sterling, Illinois, for the purchase of one (1) new Horton Type 1 Additional Duty Ambulance at the cost of $230,576. It is further recommended that the Board of Trustees authorize the pre-payment option and trade-in of one 2006 Medtec ambulance for a cost savings of $11,319 which will reduce the final cost to $219,257. Sufficient funds are available in the Fleet Replacement account (621-9003-572.50-05) to cover this purchase. The vendor has been determined to be responsible and meets specifications.

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