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Wells needs $400,000 for fire truck

By Staff | Apr 14, 2013

The City of Wells may need to crunch some big numbers come budget time.

Some needs were brought to the council’s attention from various departments at the council meeting Monday night.

One was a request from the fire department for a $400,000 bond to go toward the purchase of a new aerial truck.

Mike Pyzick and Bryan Neubauer came to the meeting to present the council with various options for replacing their current ladder truck.

The ladder truck they currently utilize is a 1970, and according to Pyzick, it’s becoming more and more difficult to repair.

“It’s to the point where they have to manufacture parts specifically for this rig,” he explains. “Which makes the repair costs more significant.”

However, the fire department is also still in the process of paying back one of two loans on the tanker they had purchased.

So, in addition to a $400,000 bond being factored into the fire department’s budget, they still have to consider the $16,599 due on the tanker.

The current truck, which was already 15 years old when they purchased it in 1985, will continue to be updated until the council reaches a decision.

Most council members were supportive of the idea, but wondered if the department needed a ladder or aerial truck at all.

“That new school got us thinking about that and although it’s one story, it’s going to be long and wide and an aerial is going to help us get to the center of that building,”?Pyzick says.

City Attorney David Frundt, who was also present at the meeting, explained that it would be a good idea for Wells to have an aerial truck.

“It’s not a regulation but rather a standard with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that any city with a building more than three stories should have an aerial truck,” he says.

Council member Ashley Seedorf stated the trucks they found range in price from $200,000 to $400,000 and they should request the bond at the higher end of that range.

If a bond was issued at the high end of $400,000, issuance expenses would decrease the amount to around $380,000 to purchase the truck.

“We would have 10 years to pay the bond off,”?Seedorf adds.

In the case the fire department finds a truck costing the city less than that amount, the size of the bond could be reduced accordingly.

After some discussion between the council and the two members of the fire department, it was decided that the issue would remain on their radar.

“I know this isn’t going to happen over night,”?Pyzick says. “But, we wanted to come here and see how this process is going to go.”

Mayor Ron Gaines agreed that this truck should be replaced and said it will be referred to the fire department committee for additional research and discussion.

But the fire department wasn’t the only one talking money at the meeting.

Mark Schmitz of the Wells Airport came with some good news that came with a price.

The airport had been selected for a grant to repair bituminous taxiways. The grant is 80/20 and would only be good for this year.

“It’s a good deal, the city would pay $6,000 to get $60,000,” Council member John Herman says.

The rest of the council agreed and the motion carried to go forth with the project. The repairs done under the grant could be completed by fall.

In other business;

The city council revisited the idea of reinstating a liquor store committee in Wells.

According to the request made by Scott Berg, the liquor store manager, the committee was dissolved a few years ago and hoped this was something that could be brought back.

The committee would consist of one or two members of the council and would handle issues regarding the liquor store, including; building maintenance, budget employee needs and public needs.

“I personally would like to see that committee again,”?Gaines says .

The council agreed and made a motion to reinstate that committee and combine it with the City Hall Committee. The council voted and the motion carried.

Robin Guise, the city planning intern, requested that the council consider giving her more responsibilities.

She currently is primarily working on grant writing but reminds the council that she is there two full days every week and would like to have more duties.

Council members Seedorf and Anne-Marie Schuster agreed that they should assign more tasks and utilize her abilities. The two intend to set a date to organize a new task list for Guise.

The city administrator position remains vacant and the council has yet to set a plan of action.

“We need to figure out how we’re going to proceed and soon,”?Schuster says.

She also points out that Deputy City Clerk Deb Redman will be retiring soon as well, so there will be two holes in the staff if they don’t act soon.

Gaines agreed and they decided to schedule a work session for Thursday, April 18 at 4 p.m. in the Wells Community Center.