ATLANTA — The Atlanta Volunteer Fire Department will get its first new firetruck in 20 years following a Town Council vote Wednesday night.
“Thank you very much,” said Fire Chief Kevin Strausbaugh, after the three-member council voted unanimously to obtain a $150,000 loan from First Farmers Bank to buy the truck.
The Fire Department has raised $45,000 as a down payment, and the town’s payoff for the 15-year loan will be $224,000, including interest.
The town will use the money to buy a 2007 Toyne pumper tanker, which the department has had since October but couldn’t use to fight fires because the town did not own it.
“We made a verbal commitment that we would buy it, and now it’s going to happen,” said Todd Gullion, assistant fire chief.
The town’s only firetruck, he said, was purchased in 1987 and can fit only two firefighters inside. The new truck can hold five firefighters.
“This new engine will do just about anything, including being a pumper and tanker,” Gullion said.
The Town Council voted in November to buy a new firetruck, with councilmen John Phifer and Larry Price voting for the purchase, and Councilman Abe Evans voting against it.
Evans, who along with Price lost his council seat in this year’s election, voted in favor of buying the truck Wednesday night despite misgivings about the town taking on additional debt.
“I just don’t think the town can afford a new firetruck,” Evans said Wednesday, explaining his change of heart by pointing out that the town secured the 15-year loan at a fixed rate of 5.49 percent.
Incoming councilmen Denny Bozell and Andy Emmert, who take office Tuesday, have threatened to terminate the firetruck loan.
In a letter outlining their opinions about the purchase, both men said if the town purchased the truck, “We represent two-thirds of the incoming council, (and) we will be forced to act in the best interest of the entire community and terminate the (loan).”
Their letter said the town couldn’t afford the payments, and a used firetruck in Cicero Township in Tipton County would suit the department’s needs.
Gullion said the Cicero Township firetruck is old and has been damaged no fax payday loans faxless payday loans. Although the department would sell it to Atlanta for $45,000, Gullion said, the truck needs repairs that could cost thousands.
Bozell and Emmert did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.
“I think them not being here shows they don’t have a concern about it,” Price said.
Phifer said the town can afford the payments, which total about $15,000 per year.
“I see no reason why the town can’t come up with the money,” Phifer said. “It’s for health and safety.”
Town attorney David Langolf Smith said terminating the loan would make it difficult to get another in the future, and the town may be required to pay fines.
“This is a great asset to northern Hamilton County and will be used for mutual aid throughout the county,” said Jackson Township Trustee Joe Robbins. “It may be a large cost, but for public safety it’s needed.”