Mayor, City officials unveil new NBFD fire vehicles

New Bedford, Massachusetts- New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, Fire Chief Michael Gomes, and City officials unveiled the New Bedford Fire Department’s two new fire engines, and stressed the importance of modernizing the City’s fleet of public safety vehicles at a press conference this morning.

“One of my priorities as Mayor has been to make City services more effective,” said Mayor Mitchell. “With the guidance of our CFO, Ari Sky, we have modernized City government and provided public safety professionals with the equipment necessary to protect our residents.”

The two new engines are 2017 Pierce Arrow XT 1,500 gallons-per-minute pumpers, with significant more capacity than the pumpers they replace. The new apparatuses are technologically advanced and corrosion-resistant.

Engine 5 will be stationed at Fire Station 5, 3665 Acushnet Avenue. Engine 9 will be stationed at Fire Station 9, 799 Ashley Boulevard. They replace two engines which began service in 1994 and 2002.

In 2012, when Mayor Mitchell first took office, the average age of the full NBFD fleet was 14 years old, and is now an average of 8.5 years old. With the acquisition of these new fire engines, the City has now replaced 5 vehicles in its frontline fire fleet of 10 vehicles in the past 4 years.

“These new engines will improve our response capabilities and are a wise investment as the City continues to prioritize public safety vehicles for the benefit of all New Bedford residents,” said Chief Gomes.

“The apparatus replacement program has allowed us to significantly improve the condition of our front-line fleet in a relatively short timeframe,” said Ari Sky, the City’s Chief Financial Officer. “This type of long-term planning is an essential factor in our efforts to address the deferred capital needs that have accumulated over the course of several decades, and has resulted in a sustainable debt profile which is affordable in terms of the annual budget.”

Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services equipment and vehicles have been identified as top funding priorities for the City of New Bedford in the biennial Capital Needs Assessment in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is the City’s first long-term plan developed to address the facilities and equipment needs of city government.

Mayor Mitchell directed CFO Sky to develop the Plan, which was first introduced in the fall of 2013 and has been updated annually. The plan was designed to ensure that the highest priority projects, like public safety vehicles, receive public funding in a manner that is in keeping with the City’s ability to pay.