By Alex Malm
The Fire Department went in front of the Town Council during their March 6 meeting to discuss a request to use funds from their capital expenditure account in order to purchase equipment.
Deputy Chief, Bo Butler, said they were looking for a “significant” amount of money from the fire equipment capital reserve fund.
“For a list of needs and not wants,” Butler said, noting it’s what is needed at a minimum to protect property and save lives.
He explained that anytime they are looking to spend taxpayers dollars, he believes it’s important to be transparent about it.
The total request the department was looking for was $173,293.88.
Butler said the department did an inventory of what the minimum amount of equipment was needed for all the different engines they have.
“This was very time consuming,” Butler said.
He said as part of that process they let the leaders of each of the engines help to determine what is needed.
“The troops in the trenches are always the best people to solve the problems,” Butler said.
He said they also looked to make sure they were in compliance with all of the National Fire Protection Association standards, especially when it comes to the hoses.
“That’s very important because hoses are truly the lifeblood of what we do,” Butler said.
As part of the process, Butler said they also came up with a vendor form for the vendors saying they wanted to come up with “crystal clear expectations.”
About $52,000 was needed to get the right equipment for the different engines Butler said.
“Again a huge number for us and fall on us to prove and support it,” Butler said.
Another approximately $69,000 was allocated for two different kinds of hoses.
Butler said the fire hoses get tested annually by a third party company and for the first time in a long time he said they know where all the hoses are and what passed or not.
He noted they would be testing the equipment before accepting it.
Butler said they used to test their own hoses, which they could do when they were a smaller community, but because of the size of their community now it’s more difficult to do.
As part of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and the town, each member needs to be issued their own regulator, which allows them to breathe in a smoked filled environment. That accounted for $31,500.
Town Councilor, Chad Franz, said it was about saving lifes.
“At the end of the day having the right tools saves lives. We’re not here to play nickels, we’re here to save lives,” Franz said.
Town Council Chair, John Farrell, said he agreed with the withdrawal request.
“We should be damn proud of this fire department and I’m happy to support you,” Farrell said.
Butler reiterated that the equipment they are looking for is needed, and isn’t a wish list.
“I want to reiterate this is for needs, this is not for wants or wishes or desires. We need this equipment to affect the mission that the taxpayers have given us,” Butler said.
The Town Council unanimously approved the request.