Court may buy fire truck

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By Calen McKinney

County officials are researching the purchase of a new fire truck to replace one that is two decades old.

At last week's regular Fiscal Court meeting, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers told magistrates that the City had previously asked the County for help in paying for its new ladder truck.

Though the County doesn't have extra funds to help pay for the truck, Rogers said, he would like to research the cost of replacing a County tanker truck. He said the truck is shared between the City and County fire departments.

Rogers said the County has applied for a grant to help purchase the truck.

If the County doesn't have the money in this year's budget to pay for a new tanker truck, Rogers said, he would like to work the purchase into the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget.

Rogers said he would like to see how much a loan from the Kentucky Association of Counties to purchase a new truck would cost each month.

"We're in desperate need," he said.

Taylor County Volunteer Fire Department Chief George Wilson told magistrates that the current tanker truck is 21 years old. The cost of a new one, he said, is estimated at about $313,000.

Volunteer Firefighter Howard Dobson said the County submitted a grant application this past April but hasn't learned if it will receive the money. He said the County has been turned down for the grant the past five years.

Magistrate Ed Gorin made a motion to contact KACo and see if the County could borrow the money and what the payment would be to repay it. Magistrate James Jones seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

On Friday, Country Treasurer Melissa Williams says she hasn't yet contacted KACo officials about the loan, but she knows the County does not have money in this year's budget to pay for it.

She said she believes the County will have to purchase the truck next year because of the condition of the current truck.

Wilson said Friday that the County has had fires large enough that the department has had to call for assistance from several other nearby fire stations. Having another tanker truck, he said, would give volunteers equipment they can depend on.

Wilson said the County's current tanker truck still runs but has been used quite a bit and is often shared with City fire personnel.

For more on this story and others, see Monday's print edition.