The Carthage Fire Department hopes to soon add a pre-owned ladder truck to its fleet.
Fire Chief Brian Tyner said the town is getting an unbeatable deal on the 28-year-old vehicle, which will be donated by the state Forestry Service. New ladder trucks, he said, can cost as much as $1 million.
“There is a use (for the truck) in Carthage,” said Tyner, adding that ladder trucks from other municipalities have been called in to assist with large fires in the past. “I think it will really help the community out.”
The Carthage Board of Commissioners voted Monday to allow Tyner to accept the truck, providing it is not in need of any repairs that would require a significant financial investment from the town. Tyner said the engine, which boasts a 100-foot ladder, will be inspected by the department’s mechanic and by a third-party before it is added to the town’s inventory.
“We wouldn’t move an inch unless it could pass every test we can throw at it,” he said. “If it failed any of the tests, all we’d have to do is take it back and we’d be done with it.”
If Tyner takes the truck, the town must keep it for at least two years. After that, the engine becomes the town’s property and can be sold.
Tyner said the fire department’s staff is excited about the potential addition. He told commissioners that space for the truck had already been cleared in the station’s vehicle bay.
According to Tyner, the donation will cause a slight increase in the department’s annual maintenance contract. The engine will need to be insured before it can be picked up from Clayton.
Also on Monday, the commissioners learned of a plan to transfer $1 million from the town’s First Bank checking account to the North Carolina Capital Management Trust. Kesha Matthews, the town’s finance director, said Carthage could earn $22,900 in annual interest through the investment, a marked increase over the $1,204 the town is projected to earn at the end of the current fiscal year.
Matthews said the funds can be withdrawn without penalty if the town needs them. She said she discussed the investment with a finance officer in Coats, which earlier this year moved money to the Capital Management Trust in an effort to gain interest income and boost budget revenues.
“So far it’s working wonderfully for them,” Matthews said.
Matthews said Carthage had $2.2 million in its checking account as of Thursday. Tom Robinson, the town manager for Carthage, said his staff is working on the town’s preliminary budget, which is expected to be presented to the commissioners before next month’s board meeting.
“I can already tell you we’re not anticipating a tax increase or any rate increases,” he said.