Franklinton fire tanker purchase delayed for legal review

By JOHNNIE DANIEL,

The Franklinton Mayor and Board of Aldermen held their regularly scheduled meeting last Tuesday at Franklinton Town Hall.
The main topic of the evening was again the fire department's tanker truck. Fire department personnel have been unsuccessful in locating a tanker that checks all the boxes for the department. The tanker has been out of service since February and three bids were received at the previous Board of Aldermen meeting in hopes of finally obtaining a tanker.
The bids were given to a committee that was already established to look over and make a recommendation to the entire Board of Aldermen. The committee met multiple times after receiving three bids that were submitted. In the end, the committee recommended that the Town go with the low bid which is a 2003 chassis with all new parts for the tanker portion of the truck. The committee also recommended the purchase of an three year extended warranty on the chassis in addition to the one year warranty it comes with for total of four years.
The remaining parts come with factory warranties that cover everything related to the new tanker portion of the truck.
Alderman John Daniel stated that the committee looked at different options including what the town needed, what the town could afford, what expenses the fire department might have in the future and other possible expenses. Daniel then stated that the committee was making the recommendation to purchase the used chassis with all new tanker equipment for a total of approximately $168,000. The committee and fire department both agreed to take $112,000 out of the department's savings account for the initial down payment. The remainder would be paid off in three years using the insurance rebate check received annually by the fire department..

Alderman TJ Butler moved to "consider the recommendation of the committee pending review of documentation" by the town's attorney.
"From the time they start building the truck to the time they finish is going to be between six and seven months," said Daniel. "We've been out of business six months already, so we need to go ahead and proceed on this."
At this point Mayor Richard Dillon tried to move to the next business of the Board of Aldermen. Alderman Daniel asked that the committee's recommendation be made in a motion to allow the fire department to put a down payment on the tanker pending approval from the town's attorney. The importance of the down payment is to ensure that the Franklinton Fire Department gets the tanker from this vendor after unsuccessfully looking for months on end, Daniel explained.
"I'm not signing anything until the legal counsel views the documents and tells us the deal and then we will move on from there," said Mayor Dillon.
Aldermen Darwin Sharp also requested a motion to allow the department to put a down payment on the truck pending approval from the town's attorney. Sharp is also a member of the committee to research the purchase of a new tanker. Once again, the mayor blocked the attempt of the motion that would secure the tanker for the Town's fire department.
Near the end of the meeting, Franklinton Fire Chief Dustin Wascom stated that there is another fire district waiting to put a deposit on the same truck that the Town of Franklinton wants to purchase. He also asked if a motion could be made to allow the department to put a down payment on the truck once all paperwork is approved so the department wouldn't risk losing this tanker. For the third time, the mayor denied the request and again stated that he would wait to hear from legal counsel before making any decision while stating that it could take longer than two weeks.

In other business, after no one spoke in a public hearing held for Ordinance 1067, the Board approved the ordinance. Ordinance 1067 places penalties in place for violation of traffic laws that prohibit the use of wireless telecommunications devices in certain areas.
Anyone cited for use of wireless communications devices in violation of La. R.S. 32:300.5, 32:300.6 and/or 32:300.7 shall be required to appear in Mayor's Court and shall be liable according to the following fines and penalties: $50 for first offense, $100 for second offense, $150 for third offense and $200 for fourth offense.
Ordinance 1071 was introduced. The ordinance amends the closing hours of alcoholic beverage sales. If approved the hours with change from 10 PM-6 AM to 12 AM-6 AM. The ordinance will be voted on at a later meeting.
Ordinance 1072 was also introduced. The ordinance allows stickers to be placed on alcoholic beverage cups and gallon containers such as daiquiris instead of the previously required stamped cups. This ordinance will also be voted on at a later meeting.

The Fire Chief presented the departmental report for the month of June. The department responded to 2 structure fires, 5 motor vehicle accidents, 7 alarms, 27 medical callouts, 2 grass fires, 2 car fires and 4 good intent calls for a total of 49 calls answered. The current call volume for 2019 is 330 and the department currently has 27 active members. Chief Waskom stated that all equipment is operational with the exception of the tanker and Engine 4. Engine 4 is down for AC repair and a siren install.
Town Clerk Ellen Waskom presented the financial report to the Board of Aldermen.
Jay Pittman of Spangler Engineering advised the Board that three projects his company was overseeing for the town came in under bid and they were able to add two additional projects.