City officials have located a used fire truck in Texas which may meet the city's need for a new aerial apparatus.
"We have found a used 2003 Pierce 100-foot ladder in north Texas. I'm going to send two firemen to look at it and let them inspect it to see if it's worth purchasing or not," Police and Fire Commissioner Don Storey said.
Storey told commissioners (Ronnie Baumgarte was absent) and members of the news media that the used truck went online for bids Tuesday morning. The asking price is $350,000.
Story said if fire personnel deem the purchase not in the best interests of the city, he wants the city to examine bids for a new 100-foot ladder truck by early 2017. Storey said it's imperative the city take action quickly if a new truck is purchased because it will take 14 months to receive delivery.
Commissioner Dennis Miller recommended the city take bids on 75-and -100-feet ladder trucks, which was approved in Storey's motion. Storey estimated there would be a $150,000 to $200,000 difference between the two trucks.
A new truck will cost approximately $625,000, according to Storey.
City officials have been dealing with the fire truck issue for several months since its current aerial truck is out of service. A town hall meeting was held Tuesday night for citizens to present testimony for or against the purchase of a new truck.
"I feel more comfortable since I've talked to representatives from DuQuoin, West Frankfort and West City (fire departments) that we've got their support. They've got our back," Storey said.
"A used truck should allow us to have a piece of apparatus that should have a 15-year life on it. I'm not just thinking about this council, I'm trying to think of the next and next because we've got two aged fire trucks that are going to have to be taken under consideration in the next five to eight years," Miller said. "If the used one is what we hope it will be, I think it will be a good option for the city."
City officials also announced the new police station will be built at the former Scout cabin location on West Washington Street.
"It's in the center of town and it's close to the fire department," Storey said. Commissioners supported the location of the department.
Storey suggested a 3,400 square feet building. Finance Commissioner Miller said it is hopeful the city can build the facility for under $300,000. "We think we can do that," he said.
"I'm excited to get the green light to move," said Chief of Police Kyle Melvin. "We've been in this building for the last 30 years in 1,600 square feet, so a new building with more space will allow us to do policing in 2016. It will also allow us to have a more professional department for our officers and a department the community can be proud of in the future."
In one other action, commissioners gave the mayor and legal counsel authority to sell property on Huddleston Street, near the Benton Civic Center.