By Michelle Leidy-Franklin
CLEARWATER – “The upkeep at the Clearwater Fire Department is remarkable,” said Mike Wilbur with Emergency Vehicle Response. “It is clean, well organized, and ready to go to work. Your fire department has been a good steward of taxpayer dollars. The community should be proud.”
Wilbur was hired to do a fire fleet evaluation for the Clearwater Fire Department beginning in December 2021. He have his report at the June 14 city council meeting. The evaluation was complete in February 2022. He identified multiple processes the department is doing right and some things that needed improvement.
Wilbur said that three areas that many departments need help adjusting are overweight firetrucks, rust problems, and changing tires every seven years. In addition, he recommended keeping better records of truck checks and maintenance.
Wilbur was able to help the department properly balance its equipment in response vehicles and identify an unsafe vehicle in need of replacement. The truck in need of replacement was immediately retired, and the department has since ordered a new firetruck.
“It is good that the city ordered the new firetruck when it did,” said Wilbur. “The costs have significantly increased twice now and filling orders is taking longer.”
He also was able to help the department identify ways to save some money and deal with staffing shortages by combining two of its response vehicles.
“In the last 42 years, we have lost 90 percent of our volunteers in my area of Pennsylvania,” said Wilbur. “Do what you can to retain your volunteers and attract more. We are expecting it to get more difficult to find volunteers.”
In other business:
• The council approved the appointment of Tanya Lange to the Clearwater Library Board and Erin Gibson to the Historical Society Board.
• The council approved a seasonal parks department hire for the summer.
• The council approved five petitions and resolutions for improvements at the Indian Ridge housing addition.
• City administrator Courtney Zollinger presented a line-by-line presentation of the budget for the pool, Senior Center, police department, court, museum, fire department, library, and special projects. Zollinger will present different portions of the budget over several meetings.
• The council approved a contract with the South Central Kansas Economic Development District to identify improvement districts throughout Clearwater. This will help the city apply for grants for improvements. The cost of the contract was $8,500.