Sussex taxpayers may soon pay for a new ambulance as one of the two emergency medical vehicles the fire department operates is on its last legs.
The ambulance is 15 years old, which is the life expectancy for ambulances in the department, according to Sussex Fire Chief Colin Curtis, who estimated the cost of a new ambulance to be about $200,000.
"That is with little or no trade-in value," he said during a phone interview Tuesday morning. "It's literally ran into the ground by that point in time."
Curtis noted that it is not entirely the number of miles that does an ambulance in, but just the large amount of time it sits idling during calls.
"So it's hours on a vehicle that makes a difference too," Curtis said.
The ambulance was a topic of discussion among village leaders last week during a budget kick-off meeting.
During the meeting, Village Administrator Jeremy Smith suggested the Village Board begin to move to a "pay as you go" spending strategy in which capital items such as the ambulance would be funded through cash reserves rather than a loan.
"You save yourself the borrowing costs," he told trustees. "I think it is something you should think about as part of this whole budget process because it does impact putting together a capital plan (and whether) an ambulance is in the borrowing plan or ... not in the borrowing plan."
A heavy-duty rescue truck and a ladder truck will also be at the end of their life expectancy within the next seven years. The department's other ambulance is six years old.