April 21, 2010 Edition

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Hoxie VFD to purchase truck

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Hoxie aldermen voted at their April 13 meeting to loan money to the Hoxie Fire Department to purchase a 2006 Ford 450 one-ton truck to be used as a quick attack brush truck.

Council members voted to purchase the truck, which has a pumping capacity of 250 gallons per minute, as well as a new skid unit, which will hold 300 gallons of water.

Council Member Adam Pratt said, "We feel a need to replace the 1994 Chevrolet two-wheel drive, one-ton fire truck. It is routinely breaking down and starting to cost. The 2006 truck we want to buy is 12 years newer, diesel and has less than half the miles. With the new skid unit, this truck also has the capacity to use foam in fighting fires."

Fire Chief Rob Needham informed the council that the Hoxie Fire Department has an agreement with the Arkansas Forestry Service to "run anywhere we are called to put out grass fires. This new truck can pump and drive at the same time. This will help us tremendously. We don't have any trucks now with this capacity."

Firefighter Mike Harmon added, "The foam pack ability will also help us reduce water damage when we are fighting house fires."

Concern was expressed by Dewey Scott regarding the pumping capability of the considered truck in relation to improving the ISO fire rating. Scott has been working with the department on lowering the ISO rating.

"Hoxie needs a pumper with the ability to pump 600 gallons per minute," Scott said. "I am not saying that we should or shouldn't purchase this truck. I am only saying that Hoxie needs to make choices that will eventually allow our city to reach a lower ISO fire rating of three that will in turn significantly reduce house insurance premiums."

Scott suggested that the council put the ISO rating on the city council agenda monthly so that efforts to improve the rating can be measured.

"If we ignore the water issue in Hoxie, then nothing will be done to improve our rating," he said. "Who is working on this problem?" Mayor Donnie Roberts introduced new fire department employee, Daniel Price.

"Price had been researching the maps and identifying the sizes of all the water lines," Roberts said. "We now know which lines are two, four and six inches so we can replace the smaller lines. This is helping us move toward a lower ISO rating by allowing greater water capacity in the pipes."

After considering the information presented, the council approved a loan of $12,000 to the fire department to be paid back in $2,000 yearly installments. This money will allow the purchase of the skid unit.

The fire department will use its own funds of approximately $17,000 to purchase the truck. The purchase is expected to be completed within a month. Plans include selling the older 1994 Chevrolet truck.

Harmon also suggested the council consider establishing a rural fire protection district that will cost households outside the city limits $25 annually instead of $500 per fire. This idea is under consideration.

Robert Clay addressed the council regarding Paula Street, "I feel like there are several areas in Hoxie that are difficult for handicapped and wheelchair-bound people. My road was graded at the beginning of the year and needs re-grading regularly to be usable."

Roberts said, "We will stop cleanup tomorrow and get over to Paula Street to grade it."

Progress in several areas was reported to council members. The sewer pump project is approximately 75 percent complete. Presently it lacks about 75 feet on the west side of the levy, plus levy work. Ultimately, workers will put down the waterline as far toward the overpass alongside the highway as the grant funds will allow.

Jack Galbreath asked for details regarding the crosstie mill reportedly coming into the area. Roberts said that the mill is still in the planning stages and that there are a lot of details yet to be worked out.

A list of over 16 streets that are in need of the greatest repair was presented to the council for their consideration and comments. Several of the streets just need patching, but some will require more extensive work. The street committee, which includes Roberts, Tim Taylor and Richard Combs, is actively researching the most economical way to approach the repair issue.

Employee changes were announced. Jennifer Doyle has returned to the city office and Raymond Walker is now training in the sewer department.

Dale Johnson expressed concern over the fine amounts for loose dogs in the city's dog ordinance.

Hoxie Police Chief Glen Smith explained, "The ordinance sets the fines as $100 to $500 for the first offence and $250 to $1,000 for the second offence for loose dogs. However, it is up to the municipal judge to set the actual fine according to individual circumstances."

Council member Sherry Moore said, "The fines have been set at such amounts to discourage owners from allowing dogs to run loose or being on chains in the city since many problems have resulted, including bites and injury, from unrestrained pets."

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