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Fire Department asks for $850K for firetruck
According to McMinnville Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield, the trucks are both operational to a certain extent.

McMinnville Fire Department has requested $850,000 to replace a 30-year-old firetruck, if a grant to fund the purchase cannot be obtained.

“This would replace Engine 8 at Station 1,” said Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield. “Engine 8 is 30 years old. It’s a 1992.”

Safety Committee members met Friday to review the Fire Department’s proposed operations budget for fiscal year 2022-23. With it, a capital projects list estimated $57,000 for turnout gear, $8,605 for forcible entry prop, and $9,500 for other machinery and equipment. Planned to budget in fiscal year 2023-24 is $850,000 for a replacement firetruck.

“We have a truck that is going to be moving off the ISO record,” said Alderman Zach Sutton. 

Sutton said a FEMA grant might be available. If the city is approved, that grant could fund a portion, or all, of the truck’s purchase price.

The ISO is a grading system from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 representing a community without an effective fire service. That number is generated by a review of the department’s firefighting equipment, manpower, water supply, communication, and location of fire stations.

According to Municipal Technical Advisory Service, the city of McMinnville has one of the best rated fire departments in the state. There are 756 fire departments that rank ISO-4 and above. Only 102 departments rank an ISO-3 and below. McMinnville Fire Department is a 3.

If a grant cannot be obtained, the $850,000 must come from the city’s general fund.

“How much does it affect the ISO rating? That’s number one,” asked Alderman Everett Brock. “Number two, how that ISO rating effects local homeowners or businesses? I want to know dollars. If we replace it out of the general fund, I want to know those things. If it does change the ISO rating one notch and increases homeowner insurance by $2, it’s not a good deal. If it’s something that really jumps out at you, than yeah, we should.”

City administrator Nolan Ming stated, “Is having a 30-year-old firetruck a good reason to buy another one?”

“I’m not knocking the need for a new firetruck,” said Brock. “I’m saying I want to know what the justification of it is. The justification is not that we need a new firetruck to replace one that’s 30 years old. Does it still run? Yes. Does it still put out fires? Yes. How many fires a year do we put out? A dozen house fires. If we can do this by grant, that’s great.”

Firefights are first-responders. Along with structure fires, they respond to medical calls and motor vehicle accidents.

McMinnville Fire Department’s proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is almost $2.9 million. That budget and the capital projects list were given initial review by the city Safety Committee, but have yet to be approved.