Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Council directs chief to start search for newer fire truck

July 5, 2007

It might be time to add a new addition to the city's fleet of fire trucks.

Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates requested permission from the Eudora City Council June 25 to research the purchase of a newer fire truck for the city.

In particular, Ates wants to replace a 22-year-old engine that's been showing its age.

"Recently, we've been seeing more breakdowns with our equipment," Ates said.

The engine, one of two in the city's possession, has had increasing problems with maintenance. Apart from maintenance issues, the truck is of such an older design that most of the department's new recruits have no knowledge of the truck's transmission system, Ates said.

"If we don't start putting some money aside or start making plans to replace our equipment, we're going to find ourselves down the road way behind and having to fork out more money," Ates said.

The purchase of a used truck would be a stopgap measure, but it would be better than what the city has now, Ates said.

The ideal replacement would offer the city more storage space for equipment and personnel, Ates said.

"I don't think our city is in a financial position to buy an expensive new fire truck," he said.

Ates' plan is to research what the city could get for its older truck to trade in toward the purchase of the newer model.

"At this time this is not a request for actual purchase," Ates said.

The fire department has also completed a grant application through Federal Emergency Management Agency to defray the cost of a new fire truck.

Because FEMA receives so many applications, the city would be better off moving forward with the possibility of a trade-in, Ates said. It could take as long as a year-and-a-half for the grant to come through, Ates said.

"Everybody wants a truck," he said.

Ates predicted the city could get about $15,000 for its current truck. He predicted the cost for a replacement would cost the city an additional $50,000.

"I'd like to use the trade-in as bargaining leverage," Ates said.

If the city wanted to go ahead with a purchase of a newer truck this year, it would have to take funds from a different budget or spend the money out of capital outlay, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

Later in the discussion, Beatty said the city could look into a lease purchase of the newer truck. To do so, the city would have to budget for the purchase over multiple years.

"We can discuss further details," Beatty said.

Councilman Bill Whitten suggested Ates look at all the options, including the purchase of a brand new truck.

"You want a truck to work when your house is on fire," Whitten said.

The council agreed by consensus to give Ates the go-ahead.

"Just look and be back in touch," Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said.

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