Fire Chief Don Sutter told the Kouts Town Council a 1993 Kenworth semi trailer truck that was converted into a tanker truck seven or eight years ago will have a new chassis put under the tanker assembly at a cost of about $133,000.
The department is financing the refurbishing with a 10-year loan from a local bank. It will pay off the loan with fundraising efforts, which Sutter said means lot of dinners and fundraising letters.
The town will be short a truck until the work is finished in early December, he said.
“It was something to get us by until we could do something,” Sutter said of the original purchase. “There’s just not enough tax money left (to pay for a new truck). We are saving about $100,000 on the cost of a new one.”
The equipment shortage could be helped somewhat by the council approving a resolution to join the mutual aid box alarm system that includes all the departments in Lake County, along with Hebron and Lakes of the Four Seasons and several in Illinois, including Chicago.
“The rest of Porter County has its own box alarm system, but this gets us more help,” he said. “We could pull stuff out of Chicago, if needed. There’s no community that can have enough fire protection on its own, so we have to have help from the communities around us.
Kouts has sent equipment as far as Lowell in the past, but Sutter said the town can turn down a request for help. He said one of the biggest reasons for wanting to join MABAS is “if a tornado came through and goes through Lowell, Hebron and DeMotte, who are you going to get to help? I’d rather be ready.”
The council also approved the annual contract with the 28-person volunteer fire department to provide fire protection this year at $41,022. That’s the same amount as 2013, but Sutter said he’s hoping for an increase in 2015. The town approved a 2.5 percent increase in 2012, but Sutter said he’s hoping for a 5 percent increase next year.
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