More Funds Needed for Culver-Union Township Fire Department Aerial Truck

The Culver-Union Township Fire Department still needs another $100,000 for a new aerial truck. After finalizing specifications, Fire Chief Terry Wakefield says the department has settled on a 101-foot ladder truck. “We thought we wanted a basket,” he told the town council during a work session Tuesday. “We kind of went away from getting a basket. What we did was we came up with a vehicle that fits in our station, that we won’t have to alter the height or width of the doors.”

Wakefield said that one company is willing to sell the truck for just over $1 million through a cooperative purchasing program called the Houston-Galveston Area Council. He said that if the town were to join the cooperative, the truck builder would cover its membership cost and offer another $5,500 off, “Because the purchasing of this through this company takes us out of the bid process. We don’t have to put it up for bids for three months and get three different companies to bid on a vehicle. They take care of that. They do all that legwork and make the truck as we suit it.”

So far, roughly $899,000 has been committed for the cost of the truck, with $700,000 coming from the Town of Culver and Union Township. More than $68,000 has been collected in private donations, and another $111,000 has been pledged, according to Town Manager Jonathan Leist. “We were at 129 different donations,” he said, “many of them in family names and things like that, but 129 people, anywhere from $10, $20, up to $20,000, from families, individuals, businesses, and foundations.”

To save up some additional money, Wakefield said the department could hold off on taking delivery of a new truck until 2020, allowing another $40,000 to be encumbered toward the cost. That leaves the fire department with another $60,000 to raise over the next year. Wakefield said donations continue to be accepted, and he’s been impressed with what the community has done so far.

As a next step, the town council will vote next Tuesday on whether to join the purchasing cooperative, in order to move forward with getting an exact price.