Worthington News

New fire truck will cost city a cool million

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Worthington City Council purchased a big shiny red fire truck at its first meeting of the year on Monday.

It should be delivered in about a year, perhaps in time for Christmas 2010. But not by Santa Claus.

The ladder truck will cost taxpayers about $1-million.

With city dollars tight, council tends to question even small purchases these days. But there was little hesitation about purchasing the ladder truck, which will replace one that is 18 years old and showing signs of age.

The truck, with its 100-foot ladder, is used to access roofs and windows of tall buildings. It can be a source of rescue or a way to get firefighters or hoses to a fire.

The ladder does not always extend vertically. It can be stretched horizontally to sweep a whole strip mall in 10 seconds, or to reach the roof of a one-story house from the street.

The odometer recently reached 100,000 miles, and the old truck is beginning to rust. The engine has been rebuilt twice, and another rebuild will be needed soon, Fire Chief Scott Highley told council.

"It is something we use on a fairly frequent basis," he said.

Asked by council member Dave Norstrom if Worthington could work with reciprocating communities to share a ladder truck, Highley said that would not provide efficient service to Worthington.

There have only been three ladder trucks in the history of Worthington and Sharon Township, the first being purchased in 1956, Highley said.

The new truck will include updated safety components and a larger platform and bucket, and will be built to meet the latest environmental standards, he said.

The purchase price was included in the 2010 capital improvements budget.

Also on Monday, council hired a consultant to perform a pay and classification study of all non-union positions in the city.

While many cities conduct such studies every three to five years, Worthington has not looked at its employees duties and corresponding salaries since the early 1980s, according to personnel director Lori Trego.

Information from such a study will be important as the city faces difficult staffing and budgeting decisions over the next several years, Trego stated in a memo to council.

The city has 90 employees in 49 positions, not including those covered by police and fire contracts.

Each job description and position function will be reviewed and updated, then compared to positions in other central Ohio communities. The consultant will then analyze how Worthington positions rank in the marketplace.

Circuit Rider Management Group of Granville will be paid $33,000 to conduct the study, which should take about seven months.

Council also hired the firm of Edsall & Associates to review Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) proposals for the redesign of the U.S. Route 23/I-270 interchange.

The city is concerned with the aesthetic design of interchange, which is due to begin construction in 2014.

Aesthetics include such things as concrete tinting, fence styles and colors, color of bridge beams, lighting, decorative columns, brick veneer, street signs, and traffic signals.

When ODOT first presented plans for the project several years ago, officials agreed to work with the city on such items, which will create an entryway for the city.

Council has set aside $10,000 for consulting services.

Edsall & Associates was the landscape architecture firm in charge of the Village Green improvements in 1989, the central business district streetscape in 1998, and the Old Worthington ADA ramp project in 2007.

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