Fire department to get new vehicle

Special to the PRESS

During a meeting held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, the South Padre Island City Council discussed the purchase of a new emergency vehicle, looked at ways to provide additional emergency services for Spring Break and delivered a “Skip the Straw” proclamation for the Island.

Council heard a budget amendment request of $450,000 to purchase a new rescue pumper for the fire department. The request included $431,470 to purchase the vehicle from Hall Buick GMC, plus an additional $18,530 contigency fund.

“By NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards, when an engine becomes 10 years old, it gets moved into reserve status,” explained SPI Fire Chief Doug Fowler. He added that not only has the City’s pumper reached that age limit, but it has also started “having issues.”

Mayor Stahl noted that the City plans to tap into its reserve funds and pay cash for the vehicle. “This will take about half of our reserves, but public safety has to be very, very high on the list,” said Stahl.

Council member Ron Pitcock asked about the purpose of the contingency funds. Chief Fowler explained that it had to do with how the new vehicle would be built. “There might be something that comes up that we decide instead of doing this with the apparatus, we’d like to do that, and just about every change order there’s a cost,” replied Fowler.

“It is a big expense,” acknowledged Council member Alita Bagley.

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