By Martha Jacob –
Ripley Fire Chief Tony Pfeffer approached Ripley Village Council June 14 with a request to run a 2 mill, 8-year fire levy which would generate $329,000 in the 8 year period.
“We have to do something about the aging equipment at the fire house,” Pfeffer said, “that’s the reason I’m here to night. We have a committee put together which includes Pete (Renshaw), Tom (Leonard), Heather (Hauke, fiscal officer) and myself, and we’ve been working together on this project.”
He continued, “The first issue we have, which has to be taken care of right away, is that we have to replace 18 sets of turn-out gear for our firefighters. We need new things like pants, coats and helmets. After 10 years, turn-out sets have to be replaced and ours are much older. Each set costs $1,800, which includes pants and a coat, but not the helmet. That’s $33,300.”
Pfeffer went on to say that the biggest issue is department is facing is the need to replace an old backup 1976 ladder truck, a 1979 mini-pumper and a 1981 hose tender. He said he wants to replace the three vehicles with two newer pieces of apparatus for his department.
“Insurance Service Offices (ISO), which sets the insurance rates, has given us with a Class 4 rating, which is really good,” Chief Pfeffer said. “But right now, ISO is saying that our 1976 ladder truck is our primary ladder in their eyes. Our 2001 ladder truck is our first new engine in ISO’s eyes and our engine that we run first is our 1995 pumper. So eventually the 1976 will get to the point where we can’t buy parts for it. It’s time to replace this equipment.”
Pfeffer said he would like to buy an engine and a mini pumper. He passed out some information to council members. Councilwoman Nowana Bingaman commented that the old pumper is on its last leg and has been for quite a while.
He said the purchase of a new mini pumper would replace the 1979 mini pumper. The cost for a new mini-pumper is $125,000. A new engine would cost $375,000, and the turn-out gear is $33,300. That’s a total of $533,300.
“That being said,” Chief Pfeffer said, “Here’s the good news. We have been saving money for a long time to purchase a new engine, and to date we’ve saved $223,000 which is in our capital outlay account. My goal has been to buy an engine and not ask our taxpayers to pay for it. We have saved and saved for the past 16 years.”
He continued, “After talking to the auditor, we decided an 8 year 2 mill levy would bring in about $330,000 which would cover the rest of the cost of the new vehicles with what our department contributes. I think realistically the cost of the average Ripley home would run between $40 and $100 thousand dollars, so the levy would cost taxpayers between $28 to about $70 a year. That’s not too bad.”
Village Solicitor Tom Mayes said he would draw up all the paperwork and get back to council at its next meeting. The application to run the levy must be submitted to the Board of Elections by August 10 to appear on the November ballot.