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Works board tables decision on fire-truck sale

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Neighboring community would like to purchase vehicle over time

By VINCE LUECKE
Editor

TELL CITY – The Tell City Board of Public Works and Safety agreed last week to delay, at least until its next meeting, a vote to sell its 21-year-old secondary fire ladder truck.

The extra time will give the city of Cannelton an opportunity to prepare a formal offer for the 1993-model ladder truck that has a 55-foot reach. The works board agreed earlier this year to sell the truck, which has been used as a backup ladder and pumper truck since the city purchased a larger ladder truck in 2010. It has a reach of 105 feet.

Fire Chief Greg Linne had contacted a broker who would have helped to sell the truck. However, before that could happen, a listing on a Web site that posts notices from the state’s clerk-treasurers generated a lead from the community of Albany, which is near Muncie. That community’s fire chief offered to purchase the truck for $40,000 in an all-cash offer.

State law requires cities to offer fire trucks locally and the city of Cannelton expressed an interest. In a letter of interest from Mayor Mary Snyder, the city said it was willing to buy the truck for $40,000 but in installments, using its economic-development income-tax revenue. Cannelton offered to make payments of $5,000 each year through 2017 and $10,000 each in 2018 and 2019.

Linne and members of the works board acknowledged the benefit of having the ladder truck remain nearby would not only serve Cannelton but could respond to major fires in Tell City under mutual-aid agreements all of the county departments have with one another.

“We want to be fair to both communities but this really isn’t a formal offer,” Mayor Barbara Ewing said of Cannelton’s proposal. The issue would have to go before that city’s works board or common council before a formal offer for the truck is made to Tell City. Cannelton’s offer did not include any interest charges and the board voiced the expectation that any purchase agreement include an interest charge.

Regardless of the truck’s buyer, proceeds from the truck’s sale will be placed in Tell City’s EDIT fund and will partially reimburse the more than $188,000 used to purchase a pumper-tanker this spring.