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Marion FD to buy new air packs

City will replace expiring tanks with 20 new ones

news@theeveningtimes.com

Marion will order 20 new air tanks for the fire department which are set to expire at the end of December and may order 20 more next year.

The city council authorized Fire Chief Woody Wheeless to spend $133,000 buy 20 new tanks to replace the 20 which will expire on Dec. 31.

“We have 20 that will expire at the end of 2016 and 20 that will expire in 2017,” Wheeless said. “So the ones that go out in December 2016 we will replace with new ones and pay for them out of the 2017 budget.”

Wheeless said air tanks are good for 15 years.

Mayor Frank Fogleman had proposed replacing the 20 that were expiring but to possibly pay for them later using money that would be saved by refinancing some city debt instead of money in the 2017 budget.

“It occurred to me that we could remove those 20 that will expire and that would get us down the road. Then we could investigate if there is a way to put the rest in the refinance package and buy them all in June or July or August if the bond is approved or not,” Fogleman said. “I don’t know if that is feasible.”

Refinancing the debt, however, will require a vote of the citizens and the council preferred to go ahead and pay for the tanks now in the 2017 budget.

“We don’t know if the bond is going to pass,” said Councilman Kelly O’Neal.

“I don’t want to put them at risk of having faulty air packs. I would rather we get 20 this year and 20 next year.”

Wheeless said he will order the other 20 next December using money in the 2018 budget.

“We could possibly order them earlier,” Wheeless said. “But right now that is the plan — to order them at the end of the year just like we are doing now.”

In other business:

• City Treasurer David Rikard reported that November sales tax collects were “really good.” City tax collections were only worse than budget for the year by .4 percent compared to 2.3 percent in October and is within $15,000 of budget through November. Rikard said general fund revenue was better than budget by about $100,000, and that departmental expenses were also better by about $200,000 because the city moved street materials expenses it had budgeted from its operating budget to capital improvements.

“They’re usually contracted jobs,” Rikard said.

“But we did some of them (in-house) this year.”

• Building Inspector Jerry Kelley reported that the city will likely fall short of its new housing starts in 2016.

The city had two new home permits in November bringing the total to 37 on the year, short of their goal of 40.

“We might not make it,” Kelley said. “Forty looks iffy at best.”

• Planning Commissioner Ed Cain reported that the planning commission voted to recommend a home at 93 Military Road be rezoned to commercial. The owners plan to open a beauty shop on the premises.

• Mayor Frank Fogleman told the council that he had signed the contract with AT& T on a $180,000 buyout of their contract for an antenna lease on the Patriot Water Tower. Fogleman said the company is now entering its six month due diligence period on the contract.

“It could easily be into next year,” Fogleman said.

By Mark Randall

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