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Hoisington council considers replacing vehicles
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Hoisington EMS will once more consider replacing one aging ambulance vehicle currently used for patient transfers with a new transit van. The new vehicle is smaller, and is expected to cost significantly less than a new ambulance. - photo by Courtesy

HOISINGTON — In 2018, the City of Hoisington began setting aside funds to eventually replace the 2005 Dodge Dakota currently in use by the animal control and ordinance enforcement officer. Recently, it came to the attention of City Manager Jonathan Mitchell that the City of Leawood is selling one of their animal control vehicles, and Monday night he asked council members to consider whether it would be a good fit for Hoisington’s fleet. 

The vehicle, which includes a specialized bed outfitted for animal transport on a Ford F350 front, is significantly larger that the vehicle Officer Dolores Kipper currently uses. It also has an odometer reading of 110,000 miles, Mitchell said. 

He spoke recently with Leawood’s city administration, and was told they would allow Hoisington’s representatives to drive the vehicle around their lot. Mitchell asked if the council would allow Kipper and a select staff person to evaluate the vehicle later in the week. He assured them that Kipper had stated she would not support the purchase if she did not feel comfortable driving it. 

Concerns over the high mileage and the low fuel efficiency dominated the discussion. Mitchell pointed out the value of the back end, which he said could be mounted on another vehicle in the future, and the professionalism it projected were draws for him. 

But, Carrol Nather, Ward 2, felt a van might be more practical and would also achieve a more professional look. A new vision began to take shape. The council and Mitchell determined they would look into other options to replace the Dodge Dakota. 

During Mitchell’s regular update on city projects, he shared concerns with the council about the condition of one of the EMS ambulances. 

Ambulance 1951, which has been in service for several years and is currently used for patient transfers, has needed significant repairs each year for the past four years, with bills totaling $11,631.27 so far.  Last week, it ended up in the shop in Larned again, with more significant repairs needed. 

Last year, the city looked into the possibility of replacing it with a new transit van, but discussion was tabled. Now, Mitchell said, it’s time to once again take a look. He researched what the ambulance would sell for, and believes the city could get between $8,000 and $10,000 for it on a popular auction website. 

The cost for a new Ford Transit van outfitted for patient transfers would be about $80,000 to $100,000, about two-thirds to half the cost of a new ambulance. Currently, the city has $135,000 set aside to replace the vehicle, and could pay in cash, Mitchell said. The city may also have a lead on a potential buyer for the ambulance, he said. Council members gave Mitchell the nod to begin gathering bids.