Key truck for grass fires tanks on Marion firefighters
Marion’s best truck for battling grass fires needs a new tank, fire chief Chris Killough told city council members Monday.
Made of fiberglass, the tank is cracked and won’t hold water, he said.
“We have tried to repair it,” he said.
After a recent blaze dubbed Middle Creek Fire, the condition of the piece of equipment tanked.
“In my opinion, it’s not repairable,” Killough said.
He asked for authorization to buy a polymer tank. Townships will reimburse the city, he said. But council member Zach Collett wasn’t immediately convinced, expressing concerns about where the city would find the money in its budget.
“We’ve depleted our equipment reserve funds,” Collett said.
Killough said he still was trying to get a firm estimate. His “guesstimate,” he said, was $7,000.
Two other trucks can get to fires faster, but for grass fires, the truck in question is the best, Killough said.
City administrator Mark Skiles agreed.
“This is our first-out truck,” he said. “We’ve got to get it fixed.”
Still, Collett pressed, “we’ve overspent” on equipment.
He said he wasn’t comfortable authorizing an unknown expense.
“We don’t even know how much we’re allocating,” he said.
Council members discussed waiting until their next meeting to authorize the purchase.
“You’re going to get into Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that’s going to push you into next year,” Skiles said.
Collett and Mayor David Mayfield also asked why they couldn’t postpone the purchase to next year. City clerk Tiffany Jeffrey said if the city bought the tank in 2022, reimbursement from townships must also occur in 2022. She said there wasn’t money in the 2023 budget for the tank.
Killough initially told council members that townships had promised to help pay for the tank. But when pressed, he said he didn’t have anything in writing.
Skiles suggested authorizing a not-to-exceed amount, and council members settled on $9,000 on a 3-0 vote. Council members Chris Costello and Jerry Kline did not attend the meeting. Ruth Herbel participated by phone call.
This is a pass-through repair meaning that the townships will Pay for the repairs made to the firetruck which is owned by the townships.