A public town hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 2, this evening, at 102 S. National, upstairs.
“Deb McCoy will give a presentation on the fire trucks that she tried to read at city hall (during the March 19 meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission) and was cut off,” said Denise Duncan, who is hosting the event.
“The town hall meetings are…about citizens having a voice longer than three minutes,” she said. “We will have guest speakers and candidates. They will be held once a month until June 1, then twice monthly.”
On the bi-monthly city commission agenda, there is a time allotment of three minutes per citizen given each who would like to address the commission. These comments are concerning items not on the agenda.
The following is from the Fort Scott City Commission meeting of March 19. To see the all the minutes, click here: Fort Scott City Commission Agenda for March 19
“Deb McCoy – Ms. McCoy read from a prepared statement and said that she was representing a group of concerned citizens regarding the purchase of fire equipment per the notice that was placed in the Tribune recently. She said they have attempted to get a petition together, but it has been a challenging process and their time is running out. She said she has concerns about the City’s need for two fire trucks. There are numerous entities that depend on bond money and each of these entities need to be cognitive of the other so we don’t end up a community in financial distress. She asked if the purchase of two fire trucks would be cost effective in the long run. She said that the Commissioners were voted for to be stewards of our community. As a steward you should consider 1) Who owns it; 2) How much is enough; and 3) Do we really need it? She asked why money wasn’t put aside by the Fire Department for equipment needs when they knew 10 years ago that new equipment would be needed. She said, per history, there was a ½ cent sales tax that went into a fund that was shared by the Police and Fire Department for equipment needs. This fund disappeared several years ago. Since then there has been no budget in place to meet the needs to purchase new equipment. She said that in the past the purchase of fire truck equipment was staggered every seven years. To avoid the need to replace two trucks at once, the following recommendations to get back on the seven year rotation is as follows:
Purchase a 2019 E2 Pumper Truck replacing the current 1992 Pumper
Maintain the 2012 E3 Freightliner.
Purchase a 2006 L1 Ladder Truck to replace the 1993 Ladder Truck.
1997 E1 would be replaced in the year 2026.
This proposal would save the City $1,000,000.
Diana Morriss – Diana Morriss continued reading Deb McCoy’s prepared statement. She said that they are not opposed to paying for equipment that is needed. She stated they are concerned with the type of truck chosen with the 100’ ladder. Is this increased cost justified when meeting the needs of our community? We have had a 75’ ladder truck for the past 65 years and two of the largest occupied buildings in our city have been torn down. This truck would be 7’ longer than our current truck. Would this truck be able to navigate all the corners and narrow streets of the city? She asked if the amount of insurance to be paid on these new trucks was considered. How many other options were actually obtained and were other companies contacted. Is there room to house the requested aerial? Have you spoke with other communities that have purchased the type of truck you are looking at? If you have, you would learn that they have had problems with the truck. She said that there is another part of the equation when providing the services from the Fire Department. We need to provide decent wages for them. Their salaries should reflect those responsibilities and should be compensated appropriately. The last full time firefighter was hired for $8.65 per hour. This is not something our community should be proud of. Chanute hires their firefighters at a starting wage of $13.17 per hour.
Bobby Duncan – Mr. Duncan continued reading from Ms. McCoy’s prepared statement. He said that we need equipment but the spending of approximately $2,000,000 is not acceptable. He said that we need to budget for future needs of the Fire Department and they would like you to return the ½ cent fund that was created for the Fire and Police Department. We need to create a budget to go towards the wages of those who protect our community. He said that they appreciate these people who put their lives on the line in protecting the citizens of this community and thanked them for their service. He said that a protest petition has three possible results: 1) An election is held with a majority of voters voting against the proposed action by the governing body; thus the governing body may not proceed further; 2) An election is held with a majority of voters voting in favor of the proposed action by the governing body, thus the governing body may proceed as planned. 3) The governing body may abandon its ordinance/resolution recognizing there is a strong voter sentiment against the planned course of action and a special election would not be required that would cost the taxpayers money.
Mayor Parker thanked them for their comments.”