The City of Dadeville will amend its budget to make room for a $9,000 brush truck for the fire department, a purchase Mayor Jimmy Frank Goodman said is "a must" for safety.
"The one they have there, it was donated years ago and it has seen (its) best days," Goodman said at Tuesday's council meeting. "They want a brush truck that they can depend on."
The council voted 4-1 to purchase the brush truck, a smaller firetruck for fighting brushfires, and 4-1 to amend the budget. Councilmember Teneeshia Goodman-Johnson cast the sole dissenting votes.
"$9,000 may not seem like a lot but it's a lot to me and it's a lot to the taxpayers," Goodman-Johnson said, requesting the city table the purchase in order to explore other options.
The brush truck is one of several updates requested by Dadeville Volunteer Fire Department since new fire chief Scott Atkins was appointed March 3, a vacancy created in February following the council's ousting of then-fire chief Keith Wilkerson.
Within his first week on the job, Atkins discovered the fire department was not only in need of new turnout gear, but had been using a weak radio channel since the April 2020 storm that couldn't reach its entire coverage area.
The city council approved the purchase of new turnout gear but did not vote to fix the storm-damaged radio antenna, at the recommendation of Atkins, once he found out it would cost $20,000 to do so. Atkins said the fire department will soon be switching to a new county-wide emergency dispatch system anyway.
"Things haven't been kept up at the fire department like they should have," Goodman said Tuesday. "And once things start running down and you don't correct it at that time, you've created more problems, and more expensive problems. So it's a lot of money to get back in shape."
However, Goodman told citizens and councilmembers the increase in fire department expenses would be temporary.
"Once all of this gets taken care and then the upkeep is done correctly, the expense of the fire department will go down," he said. "Right now I know it seems like a lot, but we've got to do what we have to do to keep everybody safe."