City Commissioners unanimously approved a grant application that the Atchison Fire Department is submitting that would pay for 95% of a new mini-pumper truck – changing the way the department responds to medical emergency calls.
The department estimates that more than 80% of calls are as first responders to medical emergencies. Currently the department must use one of its full-sized pumper trucks to respond to all calls. One of the pumper trucks – Engine 3 – is approaching the end of its useful life and is due for replacement in the next couple years. Rather than replace that truck with another full-sized vehicle that could cost about $500,000 and has high maintenance costs, interim chief Pat Weishaar told commissioners that the mini-pumper would be more than sufficient as a replacement.
A mini-pumper truck will cost about $275,000, and have lower maintenance costs, he said. To help purchase that truck, the department is applying for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The grant would cover 95% of costs, leaving about a $14,000 price tag to the city.
The department will continue to maintain other full-sized pumper trucks available for fire emergencies, in addition to the mini-pumper which still has some firefighting capability.
In other actions, commissioners also approved submission of the 2021 Airport Capital Improvement Plan request for FAA grant funding related to the development of a new east/west runway, improvements to the former MGP Hangar which is now owned by the city and will be rented out for private use, the purchase of two new patrol vehicles and 24 vests for the police department, and the purchase of a new pickup for the water utility Distribution and Collection Division.
Commissioners also received the Atchison Housing Authority Payment in Lieu of Taxes check and heard the 2020 annual report from housing authority executive director Sherry Swendson and discussed a proposed ordinance that would create a vacant property registry in Atchison. The ordinance is due back for more discussion and possible adoption at the next commission meeting.
The next regular city commission meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, as Monday, Feb. 15 is Presidents Day.