Last updated: August 28. 2013 9:52AM - 31 Views

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Sedalia firefighters may breathe easier.



The Fire Department received an $86,575 federal grant to buy 18 new self-contained breathing apparatuses, said Chief Mike Ditzfeld at the City Council meeting Monday at City Hall.



“We are getting enough to completely replace the entire inventory,” the chief said.



It will cost $96,000 to replace the outdated equipment. The department will pay the remaining $9,425 as a match, which it included in its budget, Ditzfeld said. The city would have had to pay the entire $96,000 next year if it failed to receive this grant.



“It’s a very timely award that we’re getting this now,” Ditzfeld said. “The benefit is going to be felt citywide.”



Firefighters are using various models of self-contained breathing apparatuses that are eight to 20 years old, the chief said. They hold about 30 minutes of bottled air and weigh 54 pounds. The equipment fails to meet National Fire Protection Standards, Ditzfeld said.



The new rigs will hold 45 minutes of air and weigh about 10 pounds less. They have a digital screen that shows the temperature and air remaining.



Ditzfeld said the new equipment will give firefighters peace of mind.



“They know now that it’s new and high-tech so they don’t have to worry about it malfunctioning,” he said.



The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency awards the Assistance to Firefighters Grant.



Battalion Chief Paul Withers and Brian Koral, assistant to the city administrator, worked on the grant for more than a year. Ditzfeld said he expects to receive bids on the equipment within three months.



In other business, the City Council accepted a settlement agreement with AT&T Wireless, under which the company will pay the city $334,000. City Administrator Keith Riesberg said, of that amount, AT&T had paid $134,000 under protest, which meant that the city couldn’t spend it until now.



The agreement is part of a class action lawsuit over business license taxes.



In other action, the council approved the following:



•An agreement with Engineering Surveys and Services to consult on projects as needed. The city has maintained an agreement with the business since November 2006.



•An ordinance granting Aquila access to the city’s easement along Leroy Van Dyke Road to extend electrical services to a restaurant and hotel under construction there.



•An ordinance authorizing Sedalia Housing Associates to place a Dumpster and portion of its parking lot in a city alley, which isn’t used.



Sedalia Housing Association, which is renovating Lincoln Hubbard School, will maintain the all of the alley adjacent to the property.



The council adjourned to a closed session for a personnel matter.



snail@sedaliademocrat.com


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