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City considers options to fill fire truck needs
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Zach Sutton

The push continues to obtain a fire truck for McMinnville Fire Department. 

“I know this is beating a dead horse again, but I would like to save the city some money by going ahead and buying this truck outright this year,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield, before city officials on Sept. 13. “It will be two years from now before we get it anyway. So, maybe take some of the ARP money and put down on it or pay for it all.”

During previous discussions, Alderman Everett Brock requested grants be considered to fund the purchase. 

“We got to looking into the FEMA grant,” said Mayfield. “They aren’t going to let us know what they’ll be looking for until November. If the fire truck isn’t primary on the list, we probably will never get a grant for a fire truck. The Upper Cumberland grant might be looking better on down the road.”

City officials gave consideration to allocating $850,000 to purchase a new fire truck, but not until fiscal year 2023-24. 

An estimate presented to officials put the cost at $790,000 for a truck with limited equipment.

“Another consideration that we can look at is… the standard for our city is to have three frontline trucks and one reserved. Is that correct?” asked Alderman Zach Sutton. 

“Yes,” said Mayfield.

Sutton continued, “Currently we have one frontline truck, one reserved and two that should be retired. We have two trucks that are 30 and 33 years old. I don’t know too many people that drive their vehicle on a regular basis that have a 33-year-old car. They are out there, but they are few and far between. Let alone something that’s supposed to keep our firefighters safe and our citizens safe. I think the grants are fantastic, but we have one frontline truck and we need three. So, I think using the ARP money – we have it – getting one truck doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go after those grants. Put an order in today – that would be my recommendation. Then, apply for every grant that we can.”

The community wants this purchase, says Mayor Ryle Chastain.

“It’s obviously a very small sample size, but I had about 40 some-odd people reach out to my city of McMinnville Mayor Facebook page. I’ve also received a letter from a Dr. Jana McClain who lives here in McMinnville who’s an assistant professor of education at Middle Tennessee State University and I know that we’ve received letters of support from River Park Hospital, MES, Caney Fork, the county, the school system, among others," Chastain said. 

“Beersheba Towers,” Sutton added. 

Chastain continued, “Obviously, to some extent, this is a taxpayer-funded need by the community and I think there’s some support out there for it. I think we are at a point now where we either need to just do it or stop talking about it. I’m in support of it.” 

McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. On the agenda under “new business” is to discuss purchase of a fire truck.