Inspecting the truck

Beaufort Fire Department Capt. Jack Fleeman, far right, inspects the ladder truck the town is purchasing during a recent visit to Charlotte. Monday, Beaufort commissioners approved the financing agreement for the new truck. (Contributed photo)

BEAUFORT — Despite the need for a tax increase to cover the cost, town commissioners agreed Monday to a financing agreement to borrow up to $1.1 million to purchase a new ladder truck for the Beaufort Fire Department.

During the board’s Monday meeting, held via the Zoom meeting platform, commissioners voted unanimously approve the financing agreement, along with a budget amendment required for the purchase.

The truck will be financed over 15 years through Branch Banking and Trust Co., now Truist, at an interest rate of 2.19%. The town will borrow the final purchase price of the equipment, which officials said Friday was approximately $990,000.

“For financing it for 15 years, it’s going to be around $78,000 a year (in payment), which is something under 1 cents [sic] on the tax rate,” Town Manager John Day said. “The budget is still being prepared right now so I can’t really say what that’s going to look like, other than to tell you it will need to be an addition to the tax rate. An addition to what’s being paid now.”

Currently, the town’s ad valorem property tax rate is 46 cents per $100 in assessed value.

“Our budget is going to be difficult this year, and this is going to be adding $78,000 that were going to have to spend every year … it’s just going to make the budgeting process more tough,” Commissioner John Hagle noted.

The fire department requested a new ladder truck to replace the 1997 Seagrave donated to the town in 2017. Fire Chief Tony Ray said that truck has been plagued with maintenance issues.

Problems with the older truck particularly came to light Dec. 22, when fire crews fought a large blaze at the Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery downtown. After that fire, Chief Ray approached the board about a new ladder truck in late February.

“The donated fire truck … (to) get the truck on the road it cost the town quite a bit of money to bring it up to certification standards. We’ve had some maintenance issues with the truck,” he told commissioners Monday. “…last year the truck was out of service for approximately half of the year.”

The chief has identified a new ladder truck, built in late 2018 and considered “rolling stock,” for purchase. Fire officials demonstrated a similar model earlier this year and found it met many of the criteria they laid out for a new apparatus.

By buying a truck considered rolling stock, the town avoids a wait for construction of a new vehicle but still secures one with a full warranty, Chief Ray noted.

Mr. Day said Friday Chief Ray had inspected the new truck and it could arrive in town in about three weeks.

Though several commissioners said they wished the purchase wasn’t necessary, all lent their vote to move forward.

“I think the Spouter fire showed us that we can’t wait until another episode happens and might not have as favorable an outcome,” Commissioner Ann Carter noted. “It looks like this is going to be the best bet we can get at this time, even though I sure hate to have to pay out the money right now, but sometimes you don’t have a choice.”

In other action at Monday’s meeting, commissioners:

  • Approved draft minutes from the board’s March 9 meeting.
  • Approved the town clerk to investigate a petition for voluntary annexation for Old Seaport Development LLC on Aqua 10 Road.
  • Approved the fiscal 2019-20 audit contract with Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs.
  • Approved the fiscal 2020-21 budget calendar, setting potential adoption of the municipal budget for Monday, June 8.
  • Adopted the Carteret County Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Approved moving the Crystal Coast Half Booty Triathlon from Saturday, May 9 to Sunday, Oct. 11.

Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email jackie@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.

(11) comments

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Another want, not need. Another tax increase, how many more? No limit to that.

Osprey

There seems to be no end to Beaufort's appetite for spending.

Core Sounder

ahhh, but they do have a choice. Gosh, I am some kind of happy that I don't live around these idiots that love to spend taxpayers money like its grown on trees knowing darn well that harder times are coming and may be laying off many town employees unless they raise taxes on those of us that still have a few dollars.

DeadBolt

Well, speaking for myself here, i NEVER AGREED TO THIS, AT ALL, EVER. I'm also sure, the fine folks of Beaufort round here, knowing of all the 5 story buildings in the TOWN, would be happy to say no as well (hmmmm, wait, i don't think they were given EQUAL REPRESENTATION at the vote?)

Born and Bred in Beaufort

Who remember a few years ago the town of Beaufort raised the taxes to make street improvements? Has that been done yet?

Core Sounder

ever wondered why a trucking company expect 1 million miles out of their trucks before they are rebuilt while fire depts. are lucky to get a third of that mileage. Besides a trucking company could buy between 4 or up to 5 18 wheelers for the price of this fire truck that's primary purpose is to haul around a 100 ft ladder. Oh well at least Santa will be getting something fancy to ride around in this coming Christmas.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Shouldn't a purchase of this size be on the voting ballot? Then it would be settled, once and for all.

Bft Local

Not trying to stand up for the Fire Dept but the insurance companies have a life span of 15 / 20 on fire equipment.

They never should have accepted a 20 year old truck!! Why do you think the other Dept sold it?!?!

Regarding the tax increase over the past couple of years.

They raised taxes to improvement the drainage, pave the street and raise the employees pay!! Only thing I see is the workers paycheck is bigger!!

I enjoy reading all the old newspapers online. The Beaufort News and The News Times from the 1920's to 1960.

Read up on the Town Of Beaufort way back then. Talking the same issues. Standing water, streets needing paving. Nothing has changed. The people who lived on (I forget which block) of Craven St. payed to have their block paved back in the late 50's!!

Vintage Chief

You hit the nail right on the head when you stated they should never have accepted the 20 year old fire truck. That's the mentality of this Fire Department and the mentality of this Town. They DO NOT THINK! Thinking is well beyond their comprehension.

Vintage Chief

I never agreed to this purchase. This purchase should have been put up for referendum. The Town Of Beaufort Fire Department has the Board Of Commissioners of this town buffaloed. There is absolutely no one in this town holding the Fire Department accountable for their expenditures. Who would ever agree to accept a free fire truck of 20+ years of age and have it do nothing for greater than 50% of a calendar year other than spend money on broken parts and maintenance. Pathetic is what I call it. And, let's stop here...let's talk about how the fire department runs about for every single stop sign run over by a vehicle, every mail box knocked over, every single non-life threatening situation just to roll out a fire truck and spend money on fuel. Ever stop to see how many times the fire trucks roll down the street for absolutely nothing. Have you counted the number of times you've seen a fire truck parked at Ace Hardware or a Beaufort restaurant? Why in the name of sanity do you need an entire fire truck to run to Ace Hardware? Why do you need to take a gas guzzling fire truck to a local restaurant to feed the stomachs of fire fighters? Something's wrong in this town. Some is seriously - WRONG!

alanmcguire

In fact every Single one of you are a bunch of pansies. All of you have hidden behind the Internet and I will guarantee that every single one of you are too afraid to actually go out and say something to any of these people in public. Just so you are well aware almost 99% of the population of Beaufort and Carterett County disagrees with you and thinks you all are complete bumbling idiots. This just goes to prove that none of you would actually have the guts to go and join your local fire department and see what these guys have to put up with and go through every day. It’s OK though I’m sure all of you have made a wonderful contribution to society by gaining 500 pounds and sitting at a desk job all day and crying and whining to people on the Internet. You go you’re the real heroes here! Thank you to you #OxygenThieves for being such productive members of society.

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