NORTH ADAMS — Few cars built in 1994 are still on the road.
The North Adams Fire Department's utility truck is.
But not for much longer.
Affectionately referred to as the "blueberry," the truck has seen better days. A hole in the floor has been covered by a road sign, the exhaust system is beyond repair, among other issues. Maintenance costs continue to mount.
"It served us well for the years we've had it, but it's just tired. It's one of the oldest trucks in the fleet," said North Adams Fire Chief Stephen Meranti. "It's costing us too much money — it's really outlived its usefulness."
Mayor Thomas Bernard will introduce a request to the City Council on Tuesday to purchase a for a 2019 Ford Super Duty F-350 truck.
The mayor's request is to pull $52,663.70 from the city's parking meter reserve account, which is regularly utilized to purchase new vehicles for the police and fire departments. The account is replenished primarily through the revenues obtained from public parking meters, like those that line Main Street.
The balance of the account is $265,480.
The "blueberry" truck was obtained by the city more than a decade ago through a federal excess equipment vehicle. It's used for a variety of purposes ranging from hauling from trailers to carrying equipment to and from the scene of a fire. The department has been proactive in obtaining grants for vehicle replacements, Meranti noted, but there was not one available for a utility truck.
Adam Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.