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Fire chief says department needs bigger station
by Gary Kent
Aug 15, 2013 | 1061 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — “We’ve outgrown our fire station,” Fire Chief Donnie Morris told the City Council Tuesday evening, Aug. 6, during a budget workshop.

That was one of two expensive bombs the head of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department dropped on the council.

He said the facility on the east side of City Hall, facing the 100 block of West Cleveland Street, is cramped now that the BVFD has to park several new fire trucks, including a 100-foot tower truck in the bays.

Morris said a new building could cost the city about $75,000. However, he said there is one possibly less-expensive option. That would entail extending the front doors of the parking bays by eight feet to the front edge of the wall supporting the building’s roof.

The chief also said the department is in bad need of a new tanker truck. The current tanker is one that was built locally on a truck donated by an oil exploration company.

Morris said the truck the department uses now is overweight. He also said a new truck could have a larger, plastic tank that could carry 1,000 gallons.

The chief estimated the cost of a new truck, specially built to haul water, at $230,000.

Morris said the Central Fire District, which is covered by the BVFD, has offered to match a donation by the city if the city would pay $100,000 toward the cost.

He said the department has had some successful fundraisers and it would be able to cover the rest of the cost of a new truck.

City Manager Deborah Ballí said she had budgeted $250,000 for the purchase of a new tanker truck and if the city would only be required to pay $100,000 of the cost, it could reduce the expected capital outlay for the upcoming budget.

When Police Chief Joe Treviño and Assistant Chief Richard Cantu had their turn, the two men requested funding for the Beeville Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team.

Cantu said the 10-16 SWAT team members currently spend up to $30,000 of their own money each year for their special uniforms and weapons. He said those costs include expensive rifles and special scopes needed for the job.

The assistant chief said he would like to see the city pick up the tab for those purchases in the future.

Cantu said the SWAT officers handle potentially violent situation for which regular patrol officers are not equipped.

“Training is consistent with Austin PD training,” the assistant chief said.

Treviño also asked for two new officers, two Chevrolet Impalas for detectives and three new Dodge Charger patrol cars for the BPD.

The chief said he would like for his department to purchase another Chevrolet Tahoe SUV for the second canine team.

The BPD now has two drug dogs and Treviño said that will allow the department to increase the number of drug searches on Beeville Independent School District campuses during the upcoming school year.

Treviño also requested a full-time records clerk and a full-time training coordinator.

In addition, the council heard budget requests and reports from the municipal court, the Beeville Animal Control Department and the city’s health care provider.

Ballí said the current budget does not include cost-of-living raises for any city employees.

The council will schedule other budget workshops before the 2013-14 spending is approved by the end of next month.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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