City takes possession of new fire truck

By PAT BROWN,

The big news that came from the city of Magee this week is they have taken delivery of a new firetruck. 

This is one they have been working diligently on for almost two years.  According to Fire Marshal Charlie Valadie, it would not have been possible without the help of several agencies, namely the city, Simpson County, and also the state. 

Acceptance of the truck came after several pieces of equipment were sold.  These were assets of the department.  The county made funding available through an annual fire safety funding and funds were available from the state.

The good news according to Mayor Dale Berry is that this equipment will remain in service for approximately 30 years.  Some of the equipment sold, while still serviceable, could no longer help with fire ratings because they outlived their life, but were operable.  According to Valadie the new truck will go a long way toward improving the city’s current fire rating. 

The truck arrived during the board meeting with lights flashing and sirens wailing.  The department members were in the audience of the board meeting.  The meeting was stopped so that the mayor and aldermen as well as department members could go out and see the new truck. 

The cost of the new truck was $452,000 and was purchased free and clear.   Sue Honea recounted when her father F. J. Dickey brought home the new truck for Magee Fire Department.  She said it was around 10 p.m. the night of Hurricane Camille, which was August 17, 1969 and how excited she said everyone was about the new truck.  Her dad was the fire chief. 

In other business Berry said the city would be enforcing the fireworks ordinance which starts one week before Christmas. Fireworks may be discharged until 10 p.m. except New Year’s Eve which is mid-night.  The board instructed the police department to ticket people in the city limits that did not follow the ordinance.

The board approved a bid from Schaub Flooring in the amount of $13,958 for flooring at the former YMCA which is set to be the PriorityOne Senior Center.  The next bid was by Randy Pace in the amount of $17,528. 

The city bid for a new garbage truck but the bids came in at almost $15,000 over what was budgeted.  According to the mayor the city may go with a lease purchase option.  It has yet to be advertised, but should according to bid laws.  Berry said he had spoken with Brett Duncan, who helped with the city’s budget, and Duncan told him he would need to reclassify the budget.  A copy of the information Berry sent to the board was not made public as well as other information the board discussed.  Berry has a plan to purchase additional breathing apparatuses for the department which was not budgeted, at least the entire amount for this budget cycle.  The funds for the garbage truck were to come through solid waste fees. 

These fees were raised when this board came into office.   They also raised the fees for apartments and multi-dwelling facilities in November. 

Berry suggested to the board they should consider a lease purchase program that would have the truck valued at $80,000.

This would allow for replacement of all the breathing equipment plus additional tanks.  The exact amount was not reported but was in the neighborhood of $72,000.  Half of this was budgeted for this year.  Berry joked that this along with the truck was the fire department’s Christmas present and that next year would be the police department’s turn.  

There was brief discussion about a youth detention facility and partnering with the county.  Discussion was around turning the old state corrections center into a youth facility.  Contact with the county was made and they were unaware of the idea of partnering with the city about this. 

The city was planning a workshop to discuss the new employee manual they are adopting.  It was to be held on Thursday prior to the Christmas parade sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce

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