Council dragging feet on fire truck issue

The Brady City Council has finally agreed on one extremely important issue’the citizens of Brady and McCulloch County need a new fire truck. In a public meeting Tuesday night, the Council voted unanimously to purchase a new fire truck. This truck will be the first to replace the antiquated and unreliable trucks currently housed in the local fire department. Despite the entire Council’s agreement to purchase the new truck, they disagreed three-to-two on how the truck should be financed. Because of this disagreement, there is no way of knowing when or even if the new truck will be purchased. What the Council portrayed to be an issue of major concern was paying for the $168,000 truck outright versus financing the same amount over a period of time. A $168,000 loan financed at 5.98 percent for a period of seven years would cost the City over $210,000. Pay for the truck in one lump sum and the City would save $42,000’obviously the right choice if the financial resources are available. But, with the safety of each citizen of Brady and McCulloch County as the real issue, shouldn’t the Council consider taking out a loan that would not penalize the City for early payoff’ Maybe the Council is afraid to step up to the plate and make a financial commitment to the citizens of Brady that would actually hold the Council accoutable for what they said they would do in the first place. By getting a loan with no pre-payment penalty, the City would be able to take delivery of a new truck very soon and pay off the loan, saving on finance charges, as soon as that extra lump sum comes available. I know for a fact that a loan of this type would be readily available from any number of local banking institutions. It would seem prudent for the benefit of everyone concerned, councilmen included, that the City take possession of the lifesaving equipment sooner rather than later. What will it take to prompt the Council to make this decision to have modern and reliable rescue and fire fighting equipment here and now’ Tuesday night, Mayor Clarence Friar and Councilmen, Donald Barley, Matt Mills and Jack Browning, stated that “[They] do not want to obligate the City to any debt.” Enter the $6 million loan for the proposed water treatment facility at Brady Lake. How can the Mayor and siding councilmen say that a fire truck costing $168,000 will obligate the City in a more significant manner that a 30-year, $6 million loan’ If the Council is going to talk about avoiding debt, it needs to rethink its previous decisions’especially the one that will affect every resident of Brady for the next 30 years. A multimillion dollar water treatment plant that some contend is not necessary, will blend two water sources very well, but it will not save a person’s home when it catches fire. The Council’s split decision to continue on its current course seems to say that possibly saving a few thousand dollars in finance charges outweighs the safety that would be provided by the immediate use of at least one modern and reliable fire truck equipped and designed to fight structure fires. The purchase of a fire truck affects each citizen of Brady by more than providing adequate fire protection. Each homeowner within the city limits is paying insurance rates calculated by the Insurance Services Organization (ISO). With a current rating of six on a scale of one to 10, with one being the best, each homeowner stands to save a substantial amount of money with a more favorable rating. The survey to determine this rating happens every 10 to 14 years and is scheduled to happen again in Brady as soon as Jan. 1, 2001. A new fire truck in-house would help the city receive a more favorable rating. Actual financial facts presented Tuesday night showed that a favorable change in the ISO rating by two points would save a homeowner with an estate valued at $60,000 approximately $79 each year on insurance premiums alone. Do homeowners really want the council to take the chance on keeping them from saving money each year and from having an extra level of safety by waiting to purchase a new fire truck when an extra $168,000 appears in the cash pool’ In Tuesday’s public hearing, a question was posed regarding how and when the fire truck would be purchased. No answer was given. The priority of the fire truck was lumped together with various other capital improvements, including but not limited to a hole digging truck for the utility department and a bar coding machine. “The Council will be the ones to decide when and in what priority capital improvements will be made,” said Friar. Time could not be more critical for the Council and each citizen affected by the decision to purchase the truck. If the Council waits until it has an extra $168,000 in the monthly cash pool account, the City will not ever purchase a new piece of rescue equipment. The Council should be more concerned about the immediate safety and well being of the public that elected them to their positions rather than possibly saving a few dollars on finance charges.

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