Two Tate County volunteer fire departments have been granted approval by the Board of Supervisors to order new pumper trucks expected be delivered at the end of next year.
Kim Brownlee, Tate County Emergency Management Director and Fire Coordinator, said the decision to replace trucks in District I, the southwestern portion of the county including Strayhorn and Sarah, and Looxahoma was based upon a recommendation by chiefs from all county fire departments during a recent meeting.
“We have some pumpers in the county that range anywhere from 18 to 25 years old,” Brownlee said. “Our county chiefs looked at the ages of the vehicles in each department and agreed trucks in District I and Looxahoma needed to be replaced most.”
Brownlee said the replacement plan is Round 13 and 14 of the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program and the county receives a $90,000 rebate on each truck it orders. The new pumper trucks have an estimated price tag of $330,000 apiece.
It normally takes about a year for the trucks to be delivered after they are ordered, according to Brownlee. He said he is finalizing the necessary forms before they are sent to the state fire marshal’s office for approval.
“If we are awarded this and receive funding for it, we have the option to do either a cap loan or pay for the trucks in cash,” said Cole Massie, Tate County Administrator. “A cap loan set up for pay off in 10 years is probably what we will do. We are in position to do that now, whereas a couple of years ago we weren’t.”
Supervisors, who also appointed Larry Sowell as county fire investigator, are fulfilling a promise they made at the beginning of their current terms to upgrade fire equipment across the county.
They recently approved the purchase of 56 air packs and 112 air cylinders for seven fire departments to use in emergency situations. The total price of the equipment is $355,773 and money used to purchase the gear is coming from a $356,363 grant Tate County received in August.