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Wellsville council undecided on fire truck purchase

October 9th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Allie Jeppson

WELLSVILLE–The City Council held a slightly different type of meeting Wednesday as members of the Wellsville Fire Department were formally recognized by the Utah State Firemen’s Association for their faithful years of service.

“You have a great group of people that protect your town and city,” Utah State Firemen’s Association Senior Trustee Steve McBride said.

Rodger Blechert, Jeff Thorpe, Casey Archibald and Nate Briggs were the first to be recognized for their 10 years of service, followed by Clint Kerr serving 20 years. The ceremony concluded by recognizing and thanking Ralph Parker for his 30 years of service in Wellsville.

Each acknowledged fireman received a certificate of appreciation and a pin as a small gift in return for their service. There were 110 years of service between the six firemen recognized.

“On behalf of the city we’d like to thank you gentlemen for what you do for Wellsville,” Mayor Thomas Bailey said. “You do a lot and we really appreciate your service. There are a lot of places that you could be but I don’t know where Wellsville would be without your service.”

Following the service, the council continued as usual with department reports, yet were visited a short time later by the fire department a second time, seeking approval to move forward with the purchase of a new fire truck.

“We’ve noticed in the utility bill the $3 fee, we just came back over to approach you guys to see if we’ve got the green light to continue on our end,” Fire Chief Jeremie Poppleton said.

The fire department expressed its wish to purchase a brand new Wildland and Urban Interface truck, which takes about 10 months to assemble and deliver, plus an additional two months or so to get the input and approval from every member of the fire department. Because of this time delay the fire department wants to purchase the truck as soon as possible.

On this issue the council was divided. About half of the council members approved the purchase of a new fire engine and the other half wanted to explore options of used, cheaper trucks.

“I don’t think we should wait any longer,” Councilman Jackie Orton said. “We need a new truck here in Wellsville.”

The reputation of Wellsville is to be cautious with spending and while progress needs to be made, the thought of an alternative needs to be explored, Councilman Ron Case said.

“We have an obligation to those people we’re taking $3 a month from whether or not we’re using money wisely and they’re going to want to know if we looked at all of our options. And for me to look them in the eye and say, yes the new engine was the way to go, I’m going to know that the new engine was the best way to go,” Councilman Carl Leatham said.

Salesmen can be tricky and $325,000 is a lot of money for Wellsville, Councilman Gary Bates said.
“The reason we decided to go with this fee was to get us a new truck and I’d hate to drag our feet on it now,” Councilman Colin Harrison said.

“We’re trying to bring all these other voices in when you’ve got the fire department here who know what the best choice is for Wellsville,” Poppleton said.

In an effort to resolve the conflict, Bailey prompted Chief Poppleton to do some more research on alternative options for the fire truck and to bring it before the council at that time.

In other business, the council:

· Passed a motion to adopt a resolution requesting the recertification of the Wellsville Justice Court.

· Discussed a workshop on establishing a procedure for meetings.


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