Funding from the state of North Dakota to help cover the costs of Jamestown's new ladder truck is a step closer to reality after action in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
House Bill 1012, the budget appropriations for the North Dakota Department of Health, passed by a vote of 73 to 21 Wednesday afternoon.
An amendment to the budget for the North Dakota Department of Human Services includes $333,333 for "a grant to a political subdivision for the state share of costs relating to the purchase of a fire truck." The funding for the fire truck includes an emergency clause that will make the funds payable to the city after the bill is signed by Gov. Doug Burgum.
"This is wonderful news," said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich, on hearing of the passage in the House of Representatives. "Now on to the Senate where I'm confident it will pass."
The amendment does not mention Jamestown specifically but matches the request the city of Jamestown made for the state of North Dakota to cover one-third of the cost of a new ladder truck for the Jamestown Fire Department. The bill ends any agreements between the state and political subdivisions for fire protection and prohibits any future fire protection agreements. The bill also states the grant is a one-time expenditure.
The state of North Dakota provided a fire truck to the Jamestown Fire Department as part of an agreement for the Jamestown Fire Department to provide fire protection to the North Dakota State Hospital. A ladder truck purchased by the state of North Dakota in the 1980s failed in the summer of 2019, leaving the city of Jamestown without a ladder truck for fire protection for city residents and the State Hospital.
Plans approved by the Jamestown City Council in April 2020 approved the purchase of a $1 million ladder truck utilizing the city's financial reserves set aside for fire equipment replacement. The original plans called for the reserves to be replenished by one-third collected in private donations, one-third from the state of North Dakota through action of the North Dakota Legislature and a final one-third from tax collections of the city of Jamestown.
Currently, the city of Jamestown has received pledges and donations of about $375,000 in donations and is planning to use $300,000 in federal CARES Act funding from the federal government for the ladder truck, Heinrich said.