The Kodiak island Borough Assembly has gone along with the wishes of the board from Fire Service Area 1, and so the Bayside Fire Department should have a brand new fire engine in about one year. The Assembly voted at its meeting last Thursday to award the proposal for a new engine and tanker to Spartan Motors USA.
Borough Manager Michael Powers said Bayside has been upgrading a lot of equipment since its new chief arrived.
“They have recently sold off one of their squads that was really… well, it looked like a fire truck. Really wasn’t a fire truck in terms of being able to spray water and haul water and do all those things you would normally expect a fire truck to do,” Powers said to a few chuckles in the audience. “As part of that they are proposing to replace the old tanker as well as buy a new piece of apparatus which is a fire truck.”
The sale of the old Squad 10 vehicle netted Bayside $140,000.
The new engine costs over $827,000, and the contract calls for a 50-percent down payment. While residents of Service Area 1 will pay for the purchase, it does, according to Powers, need to be approved and overseen by the Assembly.
“We are convinced there is adequate funding available. And, ultimately, the assembly gets to set their budget and their rates, and so we are confident that under no circumstance will this not get paid for. The board may not necessarily, should we come to dispute, agree with what the assembly would have to do,” the manager said. “But ultimately it’s the assembly’s call and so from a staff perspective, we believe there are plenty of protections in place that the equipment will be paid for adequately.”
Assemblyman Larry LeDoux, who presided over the meeting in the mayor’s absence, said the particulars of the funding structure will take place at a later date.
Assemblyman Scott Smiley said he had dropped by Bayside Fire Station last week and discovered the ages off some of the equipment. He asked Fire Service Area 1 board chair Paul Van Dyke about the fire station’s existing equipment.
“The current tanker? The primary tanker is 34 years old. The primary engine is 10-years-old and the back up engine is 34-years-old as well,” Van Dyke said.
“So, we’re looking at equipment that is still functioning, but it’s long in the tooth, and this motion is to get new stuff,” Smiley said. “I’m in favor of it.”
And apparently so were the other assembly members, as the proposal for a new engine and tanker passed unanimously, 7-0.