The Three Rivers City Council approved the purchase of a new fire truck to replace the current 1990 model on May 13. The council also approved the implementation of an automated water meter reading replacement program, starting with the oldest water meters in town then transitioning over the entire city.
The current 23-year-old pumper fire truck is due for replacement, according to Three Rivers Fire Chief Bobby Joe Stewart.
Forehand said the council put approval of the new fire truck into the hands of the mayor and city attorney once Stewart finds a model that meets the city’s needs.
Stewart’s plan for the new fire truck is to get a new regular pumper truck and then add foam spraying capabilities to it.
“You can also fight structure fires with foam and it puts it out quicker,” Stewart said. “Plus foam is also used on hydrocarbon and oil fires in case someone was to have a spill or an incident where we need to foam something down right away.”
In order to spray foam with their current truck, the Three Rivers firefighters have to add an attachment to the hose; which adds to their response time, according to Stewart.
“I raised issue about a ladder truck because we have hotels looking to build a four-story (building),” said council member Murrell Foster, who also serves as executive director of the chamber of commerce.
Stewart said he didn’t know of any four-story buildings coming to Three Rivers at this time, but there are ways of fighting fires without a ladder truck. He said a ladder truck would double or even triple the cost of the truck and would require more training for the local firefighters.
The price cap for the new truck is $350,000 and fire department currently has $90,000 in a CD, according to Stewart. He is also applying for grants and hopes for local donations so the city doesn’t have to foot the rest of the bill.
Stewart plans on contacting vendors soon and hopes to have a new fire truck selected within the next few weeks.
Just like with the fire truck’s foam sprayer, the upgraded water meters are also intended to save time.
The meters can be read simply by driving down the street while a computer scans them. Once the information is taken in, it will be placed onto the city hall’s computer, according to Three Rivers Public Works Director Rocky Mendez.
“It would cut the reading time. It takes the guys four to five days to read all of them,” Mendez said. “They should be able to read them all in half a day (once all the meters are switched), which would free them up to do other work.”
Foster said the meters will look for leaks within homes and the city’s water line as well.
The meters will be supplied by H.D. Supply from Corpus Christi and will be similar to the system in George West.
“I think that it’s going to be helpful. It’s going to be faster and more accurate and definitely an upgrade for the city,” city clerk Rosie Forehand said.