MOULTON — The Moulton Fire Department will proceed with acquiring a replacement emergency-response truck that was included in its budget, but council members say a ladder truck for the department will have to wait.
Moulton Fire Chief Ryan Jolly received approval in a regular City Council meeting Monday night to purchase a replacement for the department’s 2006 Ford F150, which was used as an emergency response vehicle before it needed major repairs.
Mayor Roger Weatherwax said the department was advised by Moulton repair shop Southern Automotive that the truck needed a new motor, which would cost about $5,600.
“In my opinion, the cost to repair will be more than is feasible at this time,” Weatherwax said.
He told council members the department already had about $25,000 allocated for a replacement truck in the fiscal 2020 budget.
“The truck has 153,000 miles on it. It’s probably reached the end of its lifespan,” Jolly said.
He said he expects to find a similar truck listed on the state bid for around $20,000, but Jolly also said many trucks up for bid aren’t equipped with siren lights or four-wheel drive capabilities, things the fire chief said his department needs in such a truck.
“Where does this put us at with the ladder truck?” asked District 2 Councilman Jason White. “There’s only so much allowed in the budget. ... If we spend the money on this for a new truck, we’re not going to have the money left over to buy a ladder truck. I just want to know where we’re standing on this ladder truck.”
Following an April 22 fire that devastated a portion of Moulton's downtown square, Jolly in August had requested that the council look into purchasing a used aerial truck from Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus of Marshall County, but many of the options that were presented were out of the department’s price range.
“I think we’ve exhausted all of our avenues on getting one this year,” Jolly said.
The department had considered using the money budgeted for an emergency response vehicle to offset the price of an aerial truck.
"The problem is, we can’t find one in that price range," Jolly said. "Our only other option is to wait to apply for a FEMA grant.”
Jolly said applications will not be submitted until the grant period begins early next year. Even if the department is approved, awards will not be distributed until late 2020 or 2021.
“We’ve budgeted the money to get a (emergency response) truck for the department now,” District 5 Councilman Brent White said. “Further expenditures will have to wait until the next budget.”