Key Peninsula’s Fire District 16 found out recently the FEMA grant they had hoped for did not come through—a great disappointment, considering they made it so far into the selection process, Chief Eric Livingood Nelsen said.

But the disappointment was offset by some good news in December: The district will have its four new fire trucks, approved by voters, much sooner than expected while saving money on them.

Instead of buying the trucks in phases, FD-16 will tack on to a bid worked out by the Renton Fire District, via an inter-local agreement, which means four 2004 brand new trucks should be home on the Key Pen by this summer or possibly sooner. The lease calls for three payments, the first of which is deferred until June of 2005.

“I couldn’t pass up on this agreement,” Nelsen said. FD-16’s board approved the agreement at its December meeting.

By using the city of Renton’s bid through the inter-local agreement, FD-16 eliminates its own time-costly bidding process.

“We really need these trucks,” Nelsen said. “Even with a lease, we saved $5,000 per truck.” Those savings came from rebates. Even more will be saved by avoiding inflation, since the cost of the equipment is projected to increase each year by about 4 percent. The interest rate, at 3.71 percent, is also beneficial.

The department placed the orders at the end of December. It will take about 30-45 days after the trucks arrive to have them in service, said Capt. Guy Allan, because all the equipment must be transferred and all firefighters must be trained on driving and operating the new rigs.

As for the FEMA grant, he said, as much as they are disappointed, they will continue to pursue similar opportunities.