Oak Grove council approves order for new fire truck

Oak Grove City Council members voted Dec. 10 to authorize the order of a new tanker and pumper truck for the fire department.

To be built by Rosenbauer Minnesota LLC of Wyoming, the rig will be expected for use in 10 to 12 months with additional capacity to bring larger crews and their gear to calls. The truck will replace a 20-year-old department tanker, which has been used only for storing water.

“We looked for a versatile truck,” Fire Chief Curt Hallermann told the council. “It adds a lot of flexibility that we currently do not have.”

The council approved a payment of up to $375,000 from a Fire Equipment Acquisition Fund (Rosenbauer proposed an early total of $368,952). The fire capital fund currently holds $1.07 million.

Councilmember Dan Denno said this is a big-ticket item and moved to table the purchase until 2013 when Sean Sullivan joins the council to take the seat of “lame duck” Kevin Robinson, as Denno described him in using a common term for an active representative who has been voted out of office for an upcoming term.

Robinson finished third among five candidates in a race for two council seats Nov. 6, trailing leader and fellow incumbent Scott Lawrence and runner-up Sullivan whose victory was close enough to allow Robinson to call for a recount.

Robinson was serving at his final council meeting Dec. 10 to end two years of service.

“This is a really big commitment,” Denno said. “It’s more money than we’ve spent on this council (on any one piece of equipment) in the last two years.”

Councilmember Mike Wylie acknowledged Robinson’s work as a council liaison to the fire department. “Kevin’s put a lot of work into this,” Wylie said.

“I take a little umbrage at the lame-duck comment,” Robinson said. “I’m still a council person until December 31.

“Whether we vote on it or not makes no difference to me. Equipment wears out at some point and you have to pry those fingers open and spend some money. This is a vote for the city and what the city needs for public safety.”

Denno’s motion to table failed for lack of a second before the vote to approve the purchase.

Oak Grove will be getting a red tanker and pumper that will match the rigs from other communities, “the Anoka County colors,” better than the city’s yellow tanker, Hallermann said.

Robinson will return to council chambers in 2013 as a member of the Planning Commission, with his application approved by the council last week. He has lived in Oak Grove for 29 years and his prior public service has included time as finance chairperson for St. Francis United Methodist Church and finance chairperson for the St. Francis Wrestling Boosters and Gladiator Wrestling Club.

The council approved Gail Gessner to remain on the Park Commission in the same vote. Robinson and Gessner each will begin three-year terms. The Park Commission meets 7 p.m. the third Wednesday each month as needed. The Planning Commission regularly meets 7 p.m. on the third Thursday.

Robinson and Gessner submitted the lone applications for advertised positions on the commissions, which serve as advisory boards to the council. City Administrator Rick Juba told the Union that commission vacancies through the past five years have drawn about the same level of interest.