Lake Havasu’s Community Emergency Response Team could be getting a new vehicle soon that the organization’s volunteers say is badly needed.
The City Council will consider purchasing a 2021 Ford V8 step van frame and chassis for a total of $65,688.86 that will be used to replace the current CERT vehicle. City Manager Jess Knudson said once the frame and chassis are purchased, they will eventually be sent to another company to customize and equip the vehicle for the CERT team’s needs.
The city has budgeted a total of $130,000 for a new CERT vehicle. Knudson said Fire Chief Peter Pilafas has already lined up three bids to perform the remaining work needed to properly equip the CERT vehicle. Knudson said that bid will hopefully be ready for council’s approval at the next council meeting at the end of January.
The CERT team is an all-volunteer organization that responds to major incidents in Lake Havasu City to provide rehab activities at fires and multi-agency operations in the city, and also provides basic first aid and standby at community programs and events. In recent years the volunteers have called on the city to replace the current 1990 Chevy step van used by CERT. Volunteer Bob MacMillan told the council in November that CERT volunteers have actually paid up to $700 for some needed upkeep items on the current vehicle in order to keep it operating.
“They have been using a vehicle that is now 30 years old,” Knudson said. “It is unreliable and inconsistent. They have been looking for a new vehicle for a couple years now. So I’m happy to see this on the agenda and moving forward so the city can help support the CERT team’s efforts. This is a very small drop in the bucket for all the good things they have done for the community.”
The vehicle was included in the 2020-21 city budget as a Plan B item. The City Council agreed to various “Plan B” items while creating the budget amid lots of uncertainty in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic with a plan to reconsider those items if money is available.
Havasu’s city sales tax revenues have been strong, despite the pandemic. Through September - the most recent sales tax numbers available - Havasu had brought in 26% more than last year which is about 68.2% over budget.