by Ivan Foley
Central Platte Fire Department will be getting a new vehicle for one of its upper-level firefighters.
On a split vote Tuesday night, the fire board approved the purchase of a brand new Chevy Tahoe at a cost of $31,881.
Equipping the new vehicle with sirens and light bars will add to the cost.
The new Tahoe will replace a Dodge Durango currently being driven by assistant fire chief Rob O’Dell. Supporters of the move said the Dodge, which the department has owned abotu four years, “is no longer dependable.”
A third SUV owned by the department is parked in a firefighter’s driveway south of town in an area where four firefighters have quick access to it, the board said.
The indication made by the board at Tuesday’s meeting is that the new Tahoe will be driven by fire chief Larry Bigus, while Bigus’ current two-year-old Tahoe will be passed to O’Dell.
After lengthy discussion, voting in favor of the purchase were fire board members Paul Regan and Mike Ashcraft, with Andy Stanton opposed.
“I get more complaints about guys driving these vehicles around. I can’t go along with it right now,” Stanton said.
Stanton said he hears from taxpayers who are bothered when they see the fire department’s vehicles at the grocery store or other places around town.
Stanton said while some question whether the department should be buying a new vehicle, he questioned whether the assistant chief even needed a department-issued SUV.
“Looking at the run sheet, Robbie only goes on 46% of the runs anyway. He works over at Lansing,” Stanton said.
Firefighters in attendance, and as usual there were many in the room, argued that O’Dell is an experienced firefighter whose knowledge is valuable at scenes and therefore quick response when he is available is a benefit.
The new vehicle won’t be delivered to the department until sometime around June, it was reported, with the government priced unit being purchased through Roberts Chevrolet of Platte City.
Regan, board chairman, made the motion to purchase the new vehicle. Ashcraft, after some hesitation, seconded the motion and voted in favor.
The board indicated it would take steps to sell the Dodge Durango after the new vehicle arrives. Stanton said the market for the Dodge will be extremely limited and that was another reason he said he was in favor of maintaining it instead of supporting the purchase of the new Tahoe.