Vale council green lights new ambulance purchase

Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando said the addition of a new ambulance for the fire department will be a good investment in the future. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

VALE – The Vale City Council has approved a plan to buy a new ambulance with federal Covid relief money.

The city will use almost all of the $200,000 in American Relief Act money it received to buy the new MXP170 ambulance from Apgar Ambulance, a Kalispell, Montana, firm.

The ambulance will replace a used emergency vehicle purchased last year that is prone to breakdowns, said Todd Fuller, Vale city manager.

“With our EMS, I don’t want to see these guys out on a call and get stranded because the city can’t pay for, or provide, good equipment,” said Fuller.

The council vote last month was unanimous, said Fuller.

“It will do some good. One of the big features is a filtration system that helps reduce viruses inside the cab,” said Fuller.

Fuller said under ordinary circumstances, the city would be unable to buy a new ambulance.

“This type of money does not come around very often. The ambulance, in my mind, seemed to be a no-brainer,” said Fuller.

The final price on the new ambulance, said Fuller, was $199,938,71.

While the city put in its order for the new vehicle, Fuller said the ambulance won’t arrive until next year.

“It will be at least nine months out before we see it,” said Fuller.

Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando said the city decision to buy the new ambulance was a teaching moment for elected officials.

“We are learning our lesson from buying used,” said Vialpando.

Fuller said the ambulance the city bought used last year for $25,000 has “multiple” mechanical issues.

When the new ambulance arrives, the Vale Fire & Ambulance will have three medical vehicles, including an older back-up model that has been reliable over the years, said Fuller.

Fuller said the city will trade in the ambulance bought last year.

Vialpando said he is thankful for the relief money.

“Unfortunately, this had to happen because of a pandemic, otherwise we would not be seeing this money,” said Vialpando.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

Previous coverage:

Vale officials seek grant to upgrade Oregon Trail kiosk

Fuller ready to step into Vale City manager slot

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