Atchison fire truck

Atchison City Commission unanimously approved a grant that gives the Atchison Fire Department a new mini-pumper truck.

On Monday night, the Atchison City Commission unanimously approved a grant that gives the Atchison Fire Department a new mini-pumper truck.

The grant will pay for 95 percent of the new vehicle and will help how the department responds to medical emergency calls.

The department estimates that more than 80 percent of calls are as first responders to medical emergencies. Currently the department must use one of its full-sized pumper trucks to respond to all calls. One of the pumper trucks – Engine 3 – is approaching the end of its useful life and is due for replacement in the next couple years.

Rather than replace that truck with another full sized vehicle that could cost about $500,000 and has high maintenance costs, interim chief Pat Weishaar told commissioners that the mini-pumper would be more than sufficient as a replacement.

The estimated cost of a mini-pumper is $275,000 and the city will be responsible for $13,750 of that cost. Engine 3 is currently scheduled for replacement with a full-size pumper in the adopted ERP in 2022 with lease-purchase payments beginning in 2023.

The acquisition of a smaller truck will reduce maintenance costs along with providing more agility and versatility for the department.

The commissioners also approved submission of the 2021 Airport Capital Improvement Plan request for FAA grant funding related to the development of a new east/west runway, improvements to the former MGP Hangar which is now owned by the city and will be rented out for private use, the purchase of two new patrol vehicles and 24 vests for the police department, and the purchase of a new pickup for the water utility Distribution and Collection Division.

Commissioners also received the Atchison Housing Authority Payment in Lieu of Taxes check and heard the 2020 annual report from housing authority executive director Sherry Swendson and discussed a proposed ordinance that would create a vacant property registry in Atchison.

The ordinance is due back for more discussion and possible adoption at the next commission meeting.

The next regular city commission meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, as Monday, Feb. 15 is Presidents Day.

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