ASHLAND — Ashland City Council on Tuesday agreed to purchase a new, $1.5 million ladder truck to replace the fire division’s existing apparatus that has lasted more than 25 years.

Mayor Matt Miller said the 100-foot ladder truck currently used is a 1996 model that, most recently, struggled to extend the ladder at an event at Brookside Golf Course.

“Unfortunately, that is happening more and more,” Miller said. “It’ll work sometimes and won’t work other times. But the problem is, we have to make sure it works at the time it’s needed.”

He said the fire division has spent around $150,000 on repairs to the truck “over the last several years.” And since the truck is the only 100-foot ladder owned by the fire division, it is out of commission when it gets serviced.

The city contracts with Mansfield and Wooster fire departments for those times when the ladder truck is out of service.

Ashland Finance Director Larry Paxton said most of the purchase will be financed, drawing on the city’s fire equipment fund.

But part of the purchase, $500,000 worth, will be financed with the city’s allocation of American Rescue Plan dollars, Miller said. The city received $2.1 million in the federal stimulus money passed to curb the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the mayor presented the ordinance to council, he said the ladder truck needs to be purchased now because of the wait time associated with the transaction. He said the dealer has stated there are more than 400 trucks ahead of Ashland’s and that it could take up to two years to receive it.

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