The Manawa fire and ambulance budgets will reflect no increase for 2015.
Both budgets were approved by the Manawa Ambulance and Fire Board at its Oct. 21 meeting.
The Manawa Rural Fire Department budget for 2015 is $152,852.
The Manawa Ambulance budget for 2015 is $140,031, down by $9,256, the amount the town of St. Lawrence had contributed.
Ambulance Director Andy Werth requested an increase in the ambulance budget to reflect the loss of revenue from St. Lawrence, but board members suggested no increase.
“All municipalities are on a zero budget increase, so we need to find ways in both budgets to absorb as much as we can,” John Smith said.
Werth agreed, but expressed concern over not having a vehicle replacement fund.
The board discussed the need to maintain two ambulances when mutual aid is available from neighboring municipalities.
There is a need to have two ambulances in Manawa, according to Werth. The response time is longer for mutual aid, he noted, but the main concern is if one vehicle needs repair.
“Borrowing an ambulance can be costly,” he said as he agreed to look into the matter.
The board also discussed the cost differences in maintaining a local ambulance versus hiring for the services.
“I would rather have something that is local,” said board president Mary Eck.
There were 34 total ambulance runs this year to-date, Werth reported. Since the September meeting, the ambulance has had 18 runs.
“We seem to be a little bit busier,” Werth said.
Fire Chief Rob Rosenau reported that the firefighters will be handing out candy during Trick-or-Treat hours from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Each child will also receive a battery for a smoke detector.
Rosenau presented preliminary financing options for the new fire truck.
He announced that the chassis is almost ready and the first payment will need to be made soon. The remaining amount for the loan will not be determined until the truck is ready to be delivered.
Rosenau said the new fire truck will arrive in time for the Rodeo Parade on July 4, 2015, with the next payment due in August.
The board members requested that Rosenau ask local lending institutions for some preliminary numbers for an estimated $328,000 loan.
The actual loan process is set to begin in February 2015 and be finalized at the board’s April meeting.
“We need to be as transparent as possible,” Eck said.
Rosenau requested that the board also consider approval of purchasing a utility truck for the MRFD. He said there is enough money in the vehicle replacement fund to purchase a new $40,000 vehicle. He noted the model is available in a special emergency vehicle package.
Board member John Smith questioned the need to purchase a brand new vehicle. He suggested that Rosenau consider other options, such as acquiring a used vehicle that could be outfitted to fit the fire department’s needs.
“I don’t think there is an argument to buying it,” Smith said. “The question is the timing – do we need it right away?”
No action was taken on the utility truck issue.