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Editorial: City got creative to buy fire truck

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opinion Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

It was a month ago almost to the day that we wrote in this space about the challenge the city of Farmington faced buying the new fire engine everyone seemed to agree was necessary. The budget was tight, the truck was expensive and there weren't a lot of clear options.

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A month later, it appears the city has gotten creative to find the best possible solution.

Buying the truck through the Houston Galveston Agreement Consortium, a sort of Sam's Club for governments, will save the district a significant amount of money. And while the city may lose some small degree of control when it comes to exactly how the truck will be outfitted, that doesn't seem to be a major concern. The firefighters present for a Monday night workshop seemed happy with the option, and other area fire departments have used it to good effect.

The solution the city found to pay for the truck might be even more interesting, though. The city council will borrow the more than $500,000 it needs from the city's water board, which has spent years setting aside money for projects..

The deal works well for both sides. The water board doesn't need the money right now. It's saving in the hopes of eventually building a water treatment plant. The city will pay a better interest rate than the water board would get from other investments, but the money will stay in the city, where it can be used for other needs.

The city hasn't solved all of its problems. The payments on the truck will still be significant in a tight budget. But at least there is a plan in place and firefighters know the truck they've been waiting for is on the way.

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