Pulaski council votes against fire truck purchase | News

Firefighting challenges increase without rural water access

The Pulaski City Council last week turned down a proposal by Fire Chief Dean Graham to purchase an additional truck for the department. The decision was made during a meeting on May 4.

Graham expressed concerns to the council because his department and all Davis County fire departments are experiencing problems with having access to water to fight fires. “Rathbun (Rathbun Rural Water Association) is not maintaining their hydrants any more,” said Graham.

Graham was referring to hydrants that are located at the base of water towers that Rathbun Rural Water Association has placed around the county. Graham explained that he has talked with Rathbun officials and even volunteered to use fire department funds to help maintain the hydrants, but Rathbun officials refused that offer.

Graham told the council that Rathbun officials had told him they weren’t in the business of fire protection. They were in the business of producing drinking water.

Graham told the council that on more than one occasion, county firefighters have been stranded at fire scenes without water. “You feel helpless and there isn’t much we can do about it,” said Graham. “It’s taking longer to get water to a fire scene.”

Graham presented the council with the idea of purchasing a second water tanker truck and even had several options for the council to look at.

Graham told the council that Pulaski’s current fleet of trucks have a capacity of 3,300 gallons that can go to a fire right from the station.

“We need to do something,” said Graham. “This isn’t a problem that is going to go away soon.”

Council members agreed but said purchasing an additional truck wasn’t the answer. The council agreed that there were two things that could be done to fix the problem and said that both should be done. The first was for Rathbun to maintain its hydrants. The second was for the city to upgrade its water system and include a water tower of its own to not only boost water pressure, but to help provide the fire protection needed.

The council took a formal vote regarding Graham’s truck purchase and voted 4-1 against purchasing the truck. Emily Bowersox, Rosa Archer, Jeremy Breeding and Amos Archer all voted against the purchase of the additional truck. Todd Garmon cast the only vote in favor of purchasing the additional tanker truck.

Council members encouraged efforts to get all departments to work together in an effort to get some assistance from Rathbun to get hydrants in working order so that fire protection won’t be a problem.

Graham also proposed a 40×40 addition to the fire station that would allow the city to get all fire department equipment under one roof. Preliminary estimates show the cost of construction at $50,000. Council members voted to assemble a committee to study the issue before making any final decisions. All council members except Rosa Archer voted to assemble the committee.

Archer expressed concerns about spending that kind of money during a time when current economic situations are uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other action, the council approved a resolution to allow City Clerk J. L. Stogdill to pay bills before council approval. A limit of $1,000 was made and expenses must be designated as emergency repairs or expenses.

The council also approved a purchasing policy involving credit cards.

The council agreed to purchase one new lock for city hall. The council agreed to hire a contractor to put up LED lighting in the park. The citywide garage sale scheduled for May has been postponed and the council agreed not to change the meeting time during the summer months.

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