Committee awards bid for new ROVThe Jamestown Fire Department will have a new remotely operated vehicle for underwater search and rescue within the next 45 days, according to Jim Reuther, fire chief.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Fire Department will have a new remotely operated vehicle for underwater search and rescue within the next 45 days, according to Jim Reuther, fire chief.
The Jamestown Police and Fire Committee approved awarding the bid for the ROV to VideoRay LLC, Phoenixville, Pa., for $87,000.
The unit is used during underwater searches instead of putting divers in the water. It can be used under ice as well as in open water situations, Reuther said.
The device wasn’t in the plans a year ago but was considered after Darrin Ackerman drowned in an ice-fishing accident on the Jamestown Reservoir in December. The recovery of his body took eight days and was only accomplished when a ROV was brought in from Duluth, Minn., to aid in the effort.
Leanne Buckley spearheaded a fundraising effort that raised more than $24,000 with an additional $63,000 in Homeland Security Department grant funds awarded by the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
Buckley was a longtime partner of Ackerman and wanted others to avoid the stress of prolonged searches for family members, Reuther said.
“For safety there is no better way to go,” he said. “The family came forward to do this fundraiser. I don’t think this would have happened without the family’s effort.”
Reuther said the purchase of some fire equipment in the past had used private contributions but not to the scale of this project.
The Police and Fire Committee also approved purchasing between 14 and 25 new bulletproof vests for the Police Department.
“We’ve discovered a large number of the bulletproof vests are past the expiration date or approaching it,” said Scott Edinger, police chief. “Five years is the best life expectancy for vests worn every day.”
Bullet-proof vests worn under the uniforms of the officers absorb perspiration, which causes the material to deteriorate. New vests cost between $600 and $625 apiece.
Edinger said the department has applied for a federal grant to cover up to 50 percent of the vests’ costs. He also said a fundraising effort was a possibility to cover a portion of the city-share of the cost. This offer was not accepted.
“We appreciate the fundraiser idea,” said Mayor Katie Andersen. “But this is something that should be a 100 percent taxpayer responsibility.”
If the 14 vests are purchased at this time the total cost comes to about $10,000.
The City Council will also accept proposals from auctioneers for a city auction scheduled for July 28. Florian Schnabel of Kulm, N.D., was tentatively contracted to provide the auctioneering services. This drew criticism from local auction companies.
“We feel the auction should have been put out on bids,” said Liz Doyle, employee of Orr Auctioneers. “There are six auctioneers in Stutsman County that should have had a shot at this.”
City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said the items up for auction are mostly odds and ends the city never uses.
“It has tables and chairs and things like that as well as some vehicles,” he said. “Some work and some don’t.”
Letters will be sent to all Stutsman County auctioneers inviting them to submit a proposal for the auction for consideration at the July City Council meeting.
The committee also approved purchasing a motor grader from RDO equipment for $83,000 and a loader from Titan Machinery for $216,000. Both were the apparent low bids for the equipment.
The City Council will hold a special meeting on June 26. This will be the final meeting for the current council and the organizational meeting for the new council. The new council includes Dan Buchanan and Steve Brubakken, who were elected June 12. They replace Pat Nygaard and Ken Schulz, who did not seek re-election.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com