Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said the city has received its first donation toward the cost of a new ladder truck for the Fire Department.
Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Reuther confirmed the city had received a $10,000 donation from North Dakota Farmers Union. It is the first contribution toward a goal to raise at least $333,333 from the public and industries in the area to purchase the ladder truck.
The need for a new ladder truck arose last summer when the ladder truck owned by the state of North Dakota failed. The North Dakota ladder truck was provided to the Jamestown Fire Department as part of an agreement where the city of Jamestown provided fire protection to the North Dakota State Hospital. That agreement was voided by the state of North Dakota when the truck failed.
On Feb. 2, the Jamestown Fire and Police Committee recommended that the City Council approve a plan of action at its March 2 meeting that would seek to cover the cost of a new $1 million ladder truck with one-third of the money coming from the state of North Dakota and two-thirds of the cost covered by the city of Jamestown and donations from the community and local businesses.
"There are some significant industries and businesses that recognize the need for a ladder truck," Heinrich said. "I believe we will be successful. I see one or two businesses that will step forward in a big way."
Heinrich said he hopes to see public donations exceed $333,333 which would be one-third of the cost of the ladder truck. Collections above that amount would reduce the share that would have to come from city of Jamestown funds.
"If it passes the City Council Monday, the city would be willing to do up to one-third of the cost," he said. "Where those city funds would come from is unclear. We would want to do it without raising taxes."
City officials got a chance to take a look at a new ladder truck Wednesday when Heiman Fire Equipment located near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, stopped in Jamestown with a 101-foot ladder truck it was delivering to New Town, North Dakota.
Brian Gaalswyk, sales representative for Heiman, said the New Town truck was ordered about a year ago and priced at $900,000 as equipped.
Gaalswyk said a new ladder truck would offer improvements over the state of North Dakota-owned ladder truck that failed last summer.
"The technology has changed a lot with better corrosion protection, better pumps, better electronics," he said. "Still, the life expectancy is 20 to 25 years. After that time, the department should replace the apparatus for safety reasons."
Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Reuther was impressed by the ladder truck.
"There are so many (new) safety features when you come from a 35-year-old truck to a new one," he said. "The new ones won't even lift the ladder if things aren't set up correctly."
Heinrich said plans call for placing an order for the truck when public donations reach $333,333. That amount, along with a potential $333,333 from the city, would cover two-thirds of the cost of a new ladder truck. The final third of the cost would need to be appropriated by the North Dakota Legislature which meets in January 2021. The city would need to revamp the plan if the Legislature does not furnish funds.
The donations can be pledges of funds of up to five years or cash amounts of any size.
"Anybody that can help will be appreciated," Heinrich said, referring to possible individual donations. "We'll take a $10 or $100 donation but we are thinking the lion's share will come from bigger donations."