Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2000

Eudora Fire Department in need of equipment

Fire Chief Spencer McCabe requests $17,500 for upgrades

July 27, 2000

With more applicants for the Eudora Fire Department, Fire Chief Spencer McCabe has requested $17,500 to equip the growing force. The request was granted, but not without scrutiny from some council members.

At Monday's Eudora City Council meeting, McCabe requested $12,500 for 22 sets of bunker gear and $5,000 for 10 pagers for the volunteer fire department. McCabe said the current gear and pagers specially coded with 911 dispatch frequencies are being shared with the Eudora Township Fire Department. Some firefighters work for both departments. There are 17 firefighters on the current roster. With four more in training and several more applying, McCabe said the equipment need was great.

"We've kind of got ourselves into a situation on bunker gear," McCabe said. "Since we've had the flood of applicants, we're running out of options."

McCabe said he would like to have 30 firefighters, virtually guaranteeing adequate coverage during a heavy structure fire.

"Based on availability of personnel, if you have a good working structure fire and you have 30, you're only going to get 20 there," McCabe said.

Council member Pat Dardis agreed sharing equipment between the two departments is not an acceptable permanent solution.

"There's nothing wrong with borrowing equipment when you're in a crunch; but as a long-time fix it doesn't work," Dardis said.

McCabe proposed the council take $17,500 from a $60,000 rollover from 2000 to the 2001 budget. Council president Rex Burkhardt questioned the idea, saying the rollover was to be a payment for the new fire truck.

"We talked about using that $60,000 for a payment on the fire truck and obviously we can't back out on that," Burkhardt said.

Council member Dan Gregg, also a volunteer firefighter, said other departments had increased budgets regarding salaries, office supplies and other items which he felt could be cut to fit the needs of the fire department.

"I'm just trying to point out to people that there are places we can cut," Gregg said.

Donna Oleson, city clerk, reminded Gregg the council discussed keeping taxes from increasing. Therefore, she said, departments must use their funds responsibly even if it means not purchasing some items.

"You didn't want the mill levy to go up, so you've got to do what you've got to do," Oleson said.

After a brief discussion, the council agreed the items were needed and would be funded with money from the rollover. The amount would be discussed with the city auditor and adjusted in the 2001 budget.

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