'Price gouging' - cost of new Vernon fire engine goes up by $500,000

Fire engine 'price gouging'

Vernon city councillors are lamenting “price gouging” after they heard Monday the cost of a new fire truck has gone up by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Vernon Fire Chief David Lind spoke to council in a late addition to Monday’s city council agenda, asking for additional funding to replace aging equipment.

In April, council approved $1.2 million to replace a fire engine that’s nearly 30 years old.

Lind said the department started shopping around and now anticipates the cost to be about $1.5 million.

Lind asked for $500,000 in additional funding.

“I assure you we won’t overspend,” he said.

The type of engine the fire department is seeking had cost of about $800,000 in 2019.

Lind said he expects the cost will continue to go up rapidly.

Coun. Kelly Fehr said council has no choice but to find the funds.

“It boils my blood just thinking it’s going up that much. We have no choice – this is price gouging at its worst,” he said.

Coun. Akbal Mund suggested council move to approve funds needed to purchase a new water tanker sooner rather than later if prices are going to continue to inflate so quickly.

Coun. Teresa Durning requested council discuss possible pre-purchasing to save money, but was denied as it was not on the agenda.

However, Durning says the city CAO has requested departments submit lists of needed equipment "to start looking at cost-saving strategies."

"We budget for these things, and then when the time to purchase comes up, the prices increases are outrageous," she said.

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