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The Grady County Commission has not even begun serious discussions of the 2022 operating budget, but the board has already committed funds to purchase a new fire engine.
At the commission meeting on April 6, the board unanimously approved the purchase of a commercial cab Pierce Class A pumper at a cost of $322,761 from Ten-8 Fire & Safety, LLC.
“This is for the 2022 budget, but we’ve got to approve to get it built,” Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, said earlier this month.
Grady County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency director Richard Phillips said the new fire engine would not be delivered until the third quarter of 2022.
“That’s a lot of money,” Commissioner June Knight commented at the April 6 meeting. Chief Phillips agreed and explained that he had recommended the slightly higher priced engine because of the better service and reliability of the Pierce fire engine.
The county received a bid from FireLine Inc. for an E-One commercial pumper at a cost of $318,826.
Chief Phillips and administrator Johnson said the county would save more than the difference in the purchase price of the higher priced engine in service calls. Phillips also reported that a total of four vendors had expressed interest in bidding, but only two bids were actually submitted.
“We’ve been running on used trucks for years,” Chief Phillips said. The county fire chief said his goal is to begin purchasing new equipment and rotating some of the older units out of service.
“This new truck will last us 25 or 30 years. What we’ve been buying previously has lasted someone else 20-25 years,” the chief said.
This week, Chief Phillips reported that the purchase order for the new truck has been issued and he anticipates delivery in October 2022.
Another project of the county volunteer fire service is the construction and equipping of up to four additional fire stations in remote areas of the county.
Chief Phillips reported on Tuesday that county road department crews had been cutting trees this week on a piece of property on Harrell Road donated by Grady Ranch for a new fire station.
Phillips said the addition of the new station on Harrell Road would lower fire insurance costs for nearby residents “right out of the gate.” He explained that residences outside 1,000 feet from a dry hydrant would have an ISO rating of 5X and any residence within 1,000 feet of a dry hydrant would have a rating of Class 5.
Chief Phillips says he will solicit bids on a 40 x 40 metal building for the two-bay fire station. “We had solicited bids more than a year ago, but now steel has gone up and I will have to seek new bids,” the chief said.
According to Phillips, there is money in the 2021 county budget for the construction of the station on Harrell Road and he anticipates the project being completed this year.
Additionally, Phillips is seeking a suitable location for stations in the Woodland Church area; below the river bridge on Hadley Ferry and south of Whigham near Magnolia Road.