At Tuesday night’s Knox City Council meeting, members heard a presentation about obtaining a bond to purchase a new fire truck. Fire Chief Kenny Pfost told council members that the vehicle they’re looking to replace is a pumper truck that is nearly 30 years old.
John Julien from Umbaugh provided the presentation and stated that the projected cost of the truck is approximately $600,000 and Umbaugh’s service charge would come in at about $50,000. That estimate falls within the range of the state-regulated allowed bonding capacity of $660,000.
He mentioned that tax rates would be affected and explained that at in 2017, the tax rate to pay off debt was about 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. At the start of this year, it shifted to just under 10 cents. With the proposed bond issue of $650,000, the tax rate would increase to approximately 13 cents.
He said even though procuring the bond would have an impact on tax rates, it would be minimal compared to an increase from a few years ago when the tax rate was nearly 17 cents.
Julein explained, “So the tax rate, when the new bond issue would go into play in 2019, would actually if you have a home that’s worth $70,000 assessed value, even with the new bond issue in there, you’re paying about $5.60 less per year, for debt service, than what you were paying in 2015/2016.”
Shawn Cain from KIRPC was also in attendance and Councilman Jeff Berg asked her about the possibility of receiving grants to reduce the amount of money that would need to be borrowed. Cain said she couldn’t think of any specific grants off the top of her head but would investigate some options.
Cain added that in order to receive any potential grants for this purpose, the council members could not start the bidding process quite yet so they voted to table the discussion until the next city council meeting.
The council asked Chief Pfost to come up with an official list of specifications for what the new truck should include and told him to bring those, along with a more solid cost estimate, to the next meeting.
Cain will also return with some more information about potential grant opportunities. Julien will continue to work with the city council members as they navigate this process.