Last updated: September 06. 2013 12:54AM - 129 Views

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During its regular meeting today the Sedalia City Council will vote to approve a bid for a 100-foot ladder truck for the Sedalia Fire Department.

The truck will replace the department’s current 75-foot ladder truck which is 15-years-old. SFD Deputy Chief Greg Harrell said the purchase has been in the planning stages for the past few years.

“We know that when we need equipment, we’re talking big numbers so we always try to plan as far ahead as possible,” he said. “In this case, the truck is something we really need; the National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing ladder trucks every 15 years and when we got our credit rating in January that was something we knew we’d have to fix.”

Harrell said the department settled on the 100-foot truck due mostly to new construction that sets buildings away from streets and sidewalks.

“When you look at buildings like the new Furnell Apartments on Third Street or the Stone Creek apartments on Thompson Boulevard, they’re set away from the street so our trucks can’t park as close to them,” he said. “Sending firefighters up ground ladders to rescue people is a slow process, so having that 100-foot reach will tremendously increase our rescue abilities.”

The new truck will also allow a stretcher-like device to be attached to the ladder itself, eliminating firefighters from having to use the “throw-over-your-shoulder fireman’s carry,” Harrell said.

“When you’re dealing with elderly or disabled people, it’s a lot more jarring and potentially dangerous to be thrown over a shoulder,” he said. “This stretcher will be secured to the truck and we can lower them and put them right onto an ambulance if need be.”

While the original budget for the truck was $1 million, the winning bid from Colorado-based Max Fire Apparatus was $835,755. After the SFD spends about $60,000 in “loose equipment” including hoses, radios, air packs and fire extinguishers, the city will come in approximately $100,000 under budget. City Administrator Gary Edwards said the lagging economy is helpful for large bid projects like the truck.

“Interest rates are phenomenally low. I’ve never seen them like this,” he said. “We’re seeing more bids coming in and those bids are very attractive.”

The truck will be included in a city bond that will also fund the repair of the Washington Avenue bridge and building a new fire station to replace Station No. 2 on West 16th Street.

“If council approves the bid, we’re looking at 13 or 14 months until delivery so we’ve still got a while to wait,” Harrell said. “This is something we’ve been planning for a while now and we know it’s a large expense, but unfortunately it’s just the price of doing business for us. I think the council has trusted us to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and hopefully this reflects that.”

Council will also hear updated information on surveillance cameras to be used at various railroad crossings while the Washington Avenue bridge is closed. Mayor Elaine Horn brought the camera idea to council’s attention early this year but the costs of installing and maintaining the cameras put the project off. The cameras would be linked to the Sedalia Police Department’s 911 dispatchers who could tell first responders if a train was stopped on the tracks, allowing them to use alternate routes.

Council will also vote to:

• Approve a bid to B&P Excavating for improvements to the intersection of State Fair Boulevard and Pro Energy Boulevard; $57,908.

• Approve an agreement between the city and Mernard’s, Inc. dealing with infrastructure improvements.

• Accept a request for qualifications proposal from Carl Ramey with Stifel Nicolaus as the city’s financial consultant and underwriter related to upcoming certificates of participation projects for the Washington Avenue bridge, new fire station and new fire truck; $5,000 consultant fee and $66,650 underwriter fee.

• Approve an agreement between the city and Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce to cover a funding gap due to Tourism Tax dollars not being available to collect until Nov. 15; $4,800.

The council pre-meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the mayor’s conference room with the regular meeting immediately following at 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 200 S. Osage Ave. For more information call 827-3000.

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