After months of discussion on the budget and deliberation, city council members voted to approve the purchase of a new fire truck during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust told the council he had allowed his firefighters, as part of an apparatus committee, to determine what exactly should be on the truck, saying it made sense to “let those who use the truck actually design it.” Rust said the department was excited because the vehicle was a newer model that many departments up north have but not so many down here.
He said the new truck, a custom pumper, will replace Engine 3. He said many of the safety advances include rollover protection and airbags.
“As engines get older they become obsolete,” Rust said. “Accidents are also the number two cause of firefighter death or injury, so some of the newer advances will help protect against that.”
The engine also has a shorter wheel base, allowing the truck to get into tighter areas and make maneuvering easier. The truck will cost $528,000, but the department is receiving $35,000 in trade for Engine 3, making the cash outlay approximately $493,000, Rust said.
In budget discussions earlier this year, the council weighed the options of paying for the engine in one full payment or entering into a lease agreement.
Councilmembers also approved an interlocal agreement between the city and Parker County to provide fire and rescue services to a portion of unincorporated areas surrounding the city.
Rust said the city has been doing this for years but needs to make sure it is as cost neutral to the city as possible to help out the county’s 15 other fire departments. He met with the chiefs of the other departments and came up with a figure of $61,976, approximately $23,500 above last year’s cost.
“The monies from last year weren’t enough,” Rust said. “We began looking at things such as call volume to determine the monies we needed to make it cost neutral.”