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City council paves way for ladder truck
Budget amendment passed
Taft hendrixson w sm
A budget amendment ordinance was passed on first reading last week to appropriate the funding for the Smithville Volunteer fire Department to purchase a ladder truck.In the mayor’s absence, the city council voted 5-0 at the meeting earlier in the month to begin seeking bids for a ladder truck.An opinion rendered by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), however, advised the city that the bid process should not begin until the funding is authorized.Mayor Taft Hendrixson introduced an ordinance at last week’s meeting that would amend the city budget “by appropriating $750,000 in capital outlay funds for the Volunteer Fire Department for the purpose of advertising for an aerial ladder truck."The alderman adopted the ordinance on a 4-0 vote.Aldermen Steve White, Cecil Burger, Shawn Jacobs and Danny Washer voted in favor of the measure.Alderman Gayla Hendrix was not in attendance.Mayor Hendrixson said that even though the appropriation of $750,000 would amount to approximately 20 percent of the city’s capital reserve funds, he saw no practical reason to pay the interest involved in a lease-purchase plan when the city has enough cash in reserve funds to make the purchase outright.Jacobs made the motion to approve funds for the truck, which has been a matter of controversy for several years, after reading a letter from Lori Poss, wife of firefighter John Poss, (the entire letter was published as a letter to the editor in the Review recently) just before the close of the meeting earlier this month.The emotional letter, which chronicles the sacrifices made by firefighters and their families and the stress these families experience as a result of the dangerous nature, or a firefighters daily routine, prompted Jacobs to make a motion that the city immediately set aside money to be earmarked for a new ladder truck.“We do not ask our police officers to go into a domestic without a gun, nor do we ask our EMS to work a wreck without an ambulance. So why would we ask our firefighters to go to a building fully engulfed without the proper equipment and gear? We do not ask our other emergency services to be volunteers.