NEW KNOXVILLE – The New Knoxville village council agreed at their May 11 meeting to waive second and third readings of an ordinance to order new fire truck, but with an eye toward possibly backing out in the future.
The council agreed unanimously to order a $588,383.00 custom built Sutphen pumper fire truck that will fit inside the current fire station’s 9 and ½ foot high doors and still meet 95% of the department’s needs. Council was assured there would be no down payment nor periodic payments before the truck is delivered.
Before the vote, council member Brian Jones asked what the consequences would be to the village should the village back out of the deal to build a custom-made truck. The concern comes from the news last month that the Auglaize County Commissioners are considering building a new multi-use building at the Neil Armstrong airport in the next few years. That new building then might house the New Knoxville/Washington Township Fire Department and have doors big enough to house modern 12-foot tall trucks.
Fire Chief Jerry Merges said since construction of the new fire engine won’t even start for 20 months, they will have time to cancel the order. He added ordering the engine by May 28 will lock in the current price. After that date, the price is projected would rise 8 to 9%.
In the past, the village had been trying to find a location for their emergency services department that would accommodate a late model fire engine, which usually needs a 12-foot clearance. The most recent estimated cost to reconfigure the village’s current building was $800,000.
Merges said that they would try to spread the costs to acquire the new truck by purchasing needed accessory equipment over the next year.
In other action, council agreed to a resolution authorizing the village to use a the standard allowance for the fiscal recovery plan as authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. This allowance amounts to $74,000 and allows the money to be used for other village infrastructure needs beyond the original earmark for water infrastructure maintenance. The resolution was passed by emergency to meet a deadline coming up at the end of the month.
Streets and sidewalks council committee chair Carolyn Bock said the contractor is still intending to get the park splash pad open in early June, with installation of signage with safety regulations to be completed soon. Jones asked if a health department safety inspection was needed before the splash pad could open. Bock said the inspection was not required because their installation does not recirculate the water, instead using a “pump and dump” system.
In other action, New Knoxville resident Jacob Wilcox came to council to complain about recent police action. Mayor Keith Leffel advised Wilcox to file a complaint with the village office and they would look into the matter.
The group then went into executive session to discuss property. No action was taken when they returned to regular session.
The next council meeting is Wednesday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the village administration building.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.