Perryville accepts bid for new fire truck; city joins BACKUPPS program

Conversation surrounding the city of Perryville’s need for a new fire truck has been years in the making. It’s a purchase made only about every 20 years and one of the largest expenses the city faces.

The city council made the 4-2 vote on Thursday to buy a new fire truck, with a bid of $303,549.39. The bidder was Toyne Inc., through the local dealer High Tech Rescue, said Perryville Fire Chief Anthony Young. The city has not yet chose a financing option to pay off the truck, but Young said there are “several agencies that offer financing to governmental agencies for these types of purchases,” from a $0 down payment to a dollar amount for the down payment.

“Of course, the city may choose local financing as well,” he said in an email. “That decision will ultimately be up to them.”

Young said the city has discussed the need for and need to prepare for the expenditure for about eight years.

“Our current apparatus is 21 years old,” he said. “We’ve experienced some maintenance issues lately that have taken our current apparatus out of service. That has effected our ability to respond — that’s an issue. I don’t think we’re any different than most fire departments — you have to have a replacement plan in place, or you should. We applied the same philosophy 22-23 years ago when we were planning for the purchase of our current engine.”

He said the investment is not just an immediate fix to this issue but also has further implications.

“At face value, we gain a new engine,” he said. “Beyond that, we gain reliability and dependability. We gain I(nsurance) S(ervices) O(ffice) credit, which in turn helps lower insurance rates for our citizens. Our firefighters, I should say volunteer firefighters, can take pride in seeing a new engine.”

The members of city council who voted “no” on the purchase were Adam Gray and Tim Lanham.

Mayor Brian Caldwell said during the meeting after the vote, “I’m going to say this, and maybe I shouldn’t, but I’m going to. This is one of those things that we have known for years that was coming.”

He continued that with the small budget the city has, paying the expense is “tight,” as those who have worked on the budget for the city are aware. He said the city has “penny-pinched for a while,” and even though this expense comes only every 20 years, “when it does come up, it is an expense that can set us back 10 or 12 of those years, actually, but it is an absolute necessity that we have.”

He said since the expense is deemed necessary, that’s why the city keeps a close eye on day-to-day expenses to be prepared to purchase the truck.

In the past few months, the city has missed out on things it “should have been able to have.”

“And I want to go on record saying that,” he said. “I think the taxpayers of the city missed out on some money in the past two or three months.”

On Thursday night the city council also approved a resolution for the Perryville Police Department to amend an interlocal agreement to join the BACKUPPS, or Bluegrass and Central Kentucky Unified Police Protection System, program. City Attorney Justin Johnson and Police Chief Parker Hatter shared that the Danville Police Department and the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office are already involved in the program.

The BACKUPPS program allows participating law enforcement agencies to expand their jurisdiction to conduct investigations for specific reasons. For example, Hatter said if someone steals a utility trailer in Perryville and takes it into Stanford, in the past PPD would have had to call the Stanford police and have them look into the case, but the BACKUPPS program would give PPD the jurisdiction to travel to Stanford and conduct the investigation themselves.

The resolution approved gave Caldwell the authority to sign documents going forward with the BACKUPPS program.

In other business, during the city council meeting:

• Mayor Caldwell said the city has been in contact with Rep. Brett Guthrie (R), U.S. Congressman serving Kentucky’s second district, about making repairs to Perryville’s dam near the bridge leading into the city. He said the dam has had issues with leaks and its design, including its gates, for about 15 to 20 years.

“We’ve kicked this around a lot longer than we anticipated we would,” Caldwell said.

A corps of engineers will need to come to town and evaluate the dam to give the city an idea of what it can and can’t do for construction, he said.

• Vicki Goode, executive director of Main Street Perryville, shared during the meeting that Salted Honey Cafe is expanding business to include alcohol on its menu. She said it is working on patio seating, and operating hours will change soon.

• The city tabled the decision to hang the city’s flag on every other flagpole until it has more input from citizens. City Councilor Kelly Gray raised the concern that since the flag features the Confederate flag on it, visitors driving through town could have misconceptions about the city’s values. She said she doesn’t want the city to send the message it is promoting the Confederacy. The decision ultimately was made to table hanging the flags so the city could get more public input. The original design of the flag is based on the fact both Union and Confederate forces fought in Perryville.