"The pump is about shot in it, the old metal lines are rusted," he said. "It doesn't give me enough pressure on these fires."
New fire trucks have lines made of stainless steel, he said.
A customized pumper would cost $400,000 to $500,000 and require a year at the manufacturer before it could be delivered.
Refurbishing the current pumper would cost about $140,000 but would not replace the rusted lines, he said. This pumper would probably bring about $20,000 if sold as used equipment.
Meanwhile, the council had its first reading of a revised city nuisance ordinance. It would cover a host of potential violations, including excessive noise, rubbish, tall weeds and grass and requirements for keeping animals on one's property.
The council spent more than 30 minutes in a passionate debate over a clause in the proposed revised ordinance concerning 18-wheel rigs that weigh more than 14,000 pounds. The new ordinance would ban parking those rigs on streets or in residential neighborhoods.
Recreational vehicles (RVs) could not be parked on the street or in a front yard.
Council member Bret Baierlein argued strenuously that people who drive 18-wheel rigs to earn a living should be allowed to park them on their personal property.
Rinthen had adamantly supported the revised ordinance.
"There's not another fourth-class city that allows 18-wheelers to park in the neighborhood or backyard," he said. Lancaster is a fourth-class city.
Don Naylor, a citizen who lives on Deer Run, said his father drove an 18-wheel rig to make his living. But Naylor said "you can't afford to fix the streets today. Who's going to repair these streets" if the city allows the big rigs to park in residential areas, he said.
There was no formal vote on this clause. However, an informal poll showed that council members Baierlein, Chris Davis and Brenda Powers were in favor of letting the 18-wheel rigs park on the street or in residential neighborhoods. Jimmy Crutchfield and Emily Montgomery Whitworth were opposed. Jesse Wagner, who drives a large rig as his job, abstained. Rinthen only votes when the council is tied, and did not since this was an informal count, but he made it clear he does not think the rigs should park on streets or in neighborhoods.
Baierlein eventually backed off from his proposal. In an interview after the meeting Baierlein said questions had been raised about street-repair costs to the city, and he did not want to push an idea unless there were "more of a consensus."
The revised nuisance control ordinance will get a second reading at the council's June 1 meeting, when a final vote will be taken. However, the public will be able to comment and the council can still make changes in the revised version before taking the vote.
Meanwhile, the council approved a $3,653,076 total budget for fiscal year 2009-2010, beginning July 1. By taking this action Monday night, the council no longer needed a budget work session set for May 18 and thus canceled it.
Rinthen called the budget "very tight" and said it is "as flat-line as you can get it" from the current fiscal year to the next.
The mayor said garbage pickup will have a $27,000 deficit as May's figures become available. Council members briefly renewed previous discussions about shutting down city garbage pick-up and hiring a private company to provide the service.
Rinthen said two factors have contributed heavily to the deficit. One is the extra trash created by the January ice storm hauled away at no extra cost, and businesses that have responded to higher fees by reducing their garbage pick-ups from three times a week to two or one.
In other business, the council: