Chad Rasmussen, Rushford Fire Chief, visited the Rushford City Council Meeting May 24 to get approval for a replacement rescue rig truck. Rasmussen had been searching for a replacement for quite some time, hoping to find a rig in the $25,000 to $30,000 range with no luck; the COVID pandemic has pushed vehicle prices up and availability down.
The current 1984 brush/grass rig R-2 goes out on all calls and has become unreliable; the electrical system fails often, affecting the lights, siren and even starting capability. Rasmussen told of being stranded on the side of the road, and of the rig being out in a field at a fire, having to be protected from the fire because it couldn’t be moved. He has even had to call city clerk Kathy Zacher to come transport stranded firemen. Not only can’t the truck be relied on, the truck can’t have the trailer hooked up to it.
Recently, Rasmussen found a 2020 Ford 350 4×4 with 21,284 miles on it at a negotiated price of $54,099 with a full warranty. He asked the dealership to hold the truck for him until he could ask the council for approval.
The truck is not a lease vehicle and is already red in color; it would need a light bar added to the roof (at a cost of $3,300), a brush guard and heavy-duty winch bar (at a cost of $1,500), and a toolbox which could be added by Connaughty’s. The skid unit from the old rig would be able to slide right into the new rig. Rasmussen estimated the final investment would be around $58,899; he felt the sale of the old rig might bring $3,000–$4,000.
Rasmussen and fireman/mechanic Nick Smith have fully examined the vehicle; Rasmussen assured the council that there were sufficient funds available for the purchase in the Mill Rate Fund and the General Fire Department Fund. He added, “It’ll probably be close to 10 years before we’d need to replace any of the other trucks. I’ve done my homework on this.”
The council approved the purchase; a grinning Rasmussen announced he would return to the dealership the next day to finalize the purchase.
The council opted to keep the 2019 rates for the pool; since there will no longer be the shorter swim sessions, the daily cost will be $5.00 per swimmer. The season pass will stay at the early signup price regardless of purchase date. Resident/non-resident prices will remain the same. Pools are to be at 50% capacity; Kathy Zacher did not see this as an issue for the Rushford Pool. Due to COVID shutdown, all the lifeguards lost their certification; they will have certification training June 4 and 5. The pool will open Monday, June 6; lessons will begin the week of June 14. No lesson signup dates have been set yet.
The council chose to keep city offices closed for the time. People with business at city hall can call or knock at the door. Masks will still be required.
The council reviewed details of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). This is intended to help with fiscal recovery for the city. The city will be required to sign up online for the funding. At this point the Federal Government has not determined the exact available funding to be doled out to each city. A separate fund would be maintained by the city for the funding with annual mandatory reporting on October 31 each year. The funding would need to be spent by the end of 2024; remaining funds would be returned. There is more leniency in how these funds can be used. City Clerk Kathy Zacher suggested the money could be used to help with water and sewer infrastructure.
In other business the council:
•Approved and thanked Jacklyn Heiden for joining the Zoning Board.
•Heard details of the Chamber After Hours event to be held at Ferndale June 16.
•Learned the airport will be closed from May 25 for a month for asphalting.
•Heard that the easement paperwork for Highway 30 is progressing with an intended paperwork completion date of mid-June.
The next Rushford City Council Meeting will be June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at city hall; the public is welcome to attend.