Delay in new firetruck concerns for Sardis chief 2/17/2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Delay in new firetruck concerns for Sardis chief

By Rupert Howell
The City of Sardis is looking for a way to finance a new fire truck and a meeting held Thursday, February 5 narrowed the options, but may have delayed the order.

Mayor Billy Russell had called the special meeting to get all parties involved to share information with that city’s board of aldermen.

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Panola County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Daniel Cole who also serves as rural fire department coordinator told of grants and funds offered by the county and state.

North Delta Regional Development District Planning Director Jeff Walters told of grants and loans that may be available and Fire Chief Chuck Moore explained the urgency of having a new fire truck on order prior to the city’s next rating inspection.

“We’re due for an inspection,” Moore who has been warning board members for several years that the aging trucks in the fire department’s fleet of two needed updating. He said it takes 10 to 12 months for delivery.

“I have a 25-year-old truck and a 17-year-old truck. In 2011 we were told to replace the old fire truck. We’re due an inspection every five years,” Moore warned and explained his concern was that the next inspection would come prior to the city having a truck on order.

Panola County has agreed to pay $100,000 with funds that come from a two-mill tax levy and a state grant is usually available that pays an additional $70,000 toward the truck that Moore has requested that comes with a price tag of approximately $275,000.

Additional grants for $40,000 and another for $100,000 are possible, but stipulations and restrictions make them less attainable or desirable.

During a lengthy discussion and sharing of information, Walters said a two percent loan was available for financing the remainder of the fire truck. The question then became how much to borrow due to not knowing when the state grant of $70,000 would become available.

Walters and Cole agreed on applying to borrow the $175,000 opposed to $105,000 because the money would be a reimbursement and the city could use only what was needed of the loan.
During the meeting Alderman-at-large Roy Scallorn repeated a previous question concerning bidding the specifications for the fire truck opposed to buying under state contract price.
Moore has been against the bidding process noting quality and longevity of the truck would be compromised from another vendor and Cole said there was not a lot of “mark up” with fire trucks and that it would delay delivery.

The group appeared content to check into the low interest financing accept for Fire Chief Moore who asked, “You mean we are going to have to wait another month until we order a fire truck?”