National policy trickles down to West Lafayette governance in Wednesday’s redevelopment commission meeting.

The RDC approved the purchase of two vehicles: a 2019 Peterbilt 348 chassis for the West Lafayette Street and Sanitation Department and a 2019 Metro 100-foot Quint firetruck. The Peterbilt chassis will be integrated into the WLSSD as a dump truck.

Funding for both purchases was originally allocated in the 2019 budget. However, the recent steel tariffs set by President Trump have forced the RDC to purchase both vehicles this year. Due to the volatility in steel prices, Peterbilt chassis production has been reduced. This has encouraged the RDC to buy the truck sooner.

“It’s unfortunate that this is the way things are going, but with the way steel prices are right now with the tariffs and stuff right now, they are just building trucks to order,” said RDC president, Larry Oates.

The nature of the steel prices, combined with the truck’s 16-month build time means that unless the vehicles are ordered soon, the chassis will not be available until mid 2020.

The firetruck takes slightly less time to manufacture at 13 months. However, its price will rise after Nov. 1.

“One of the reasons we’re asking to do this now for next year is the tariffs. There’s a price increase on November 1. That will be about $70,000,” said West Lafayette Fire Chief, Timothy Heath.

The Peterbilt chassis will cost $105,957 and the firetruck will cost $1,009,934. Both vehicles will be purchased through Sourcewell. The Minnesota-based government agency helps governmental, educational and non-profit organizations make large purchases. Sourcewell uses cooperative contracts to meet the requirements of multiple organizations and save local governments money.

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