UNION COUNTY — A new fire truck for the Buffalo Fire District, community fireworks displays, new public works equipment, advisory referendums for special tax or fire districts, and funding for outside agencies were the issues addressed by Union County Council this week.
Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a resolution authorizing the county to enter into a lease purchase agreement to buy a new fire truck for the Buffalo Fire District.
The resolution authorizes the county to spend up to $300,000 to purchase the vehicle which the resolution describes as a 2017 FES Tanker on Kenworth Chassis with equipment. It estimates the purchase cost of the vehicle at $280,433.26.
In presenting the resolution to council, Supervisor Frank Hart said that the county would purchase the vehicle through the lease-purchase agreement and be reimbursed from the proceeds of the agreement.
In other business, council voted unanimously to approve two resolutions authorizing public fireworks displays in the West Springs and Buffalo communities.
Hart told council that state law requires counties to approve any public fireworks displays presented by any of its constituent communities. He said that the West Springs Community Club is planning to conduct a fireworks display in the West Springs Community on June 25 and the Buffalo Festival Committee is planning to conduct one in the Buffalo Community on July 4. In order for them to do so, however, council must approve a resolution authorizing fireworks displays.
Council then proceeded to approve a resolution for each group authorizing the fireworks displays in their communities.
Public Works Vehicles
Council also voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the following two pieces of equipment requested by Public Works Director Brad Jolly:
• CAT 289D Cab Machine — Compact Track Loader
• CAT 304E2 Enclosed Cab Machine — Mini Hydraulic Excavator
The vehicles cost a total of $133,000 of which $132,000 will be paid for out of the Union County Recycling Fund with the balance coming from the Road & Bridge Fund.
Council also voted unanimously to approve first reading of an ordinance “repealing, rescinding, and revoking all prior enactments of Union County Council” that require a “referendum, advisory or otherwise,” prior to council appointing the members of the governing body of a special tax or fire district.
Hart explained that the advisory referendum statute has never been truly implemented and that even if a referendum were conducted in regards to the appointment of members of the governing board of a special tax or fire district, those appointments would still have to be made by council. He pointed out that persons who would run for seats on those board in an advisory referendum would still be required to adhere to all the rules and regulations that candidates for county council and other public offices do even though the election will not necessarily result in their appointment. This has presented an obstacle to recruiting individuals to run for and serve on the boards.
Council also discussed funding for outside agencies for fiscal 2016-2017, voting unanimously to allocate $70,000 from the local Hospitality and Accommodations Tax Fund to the Union County Tourism Commission. The Commission will use the funds to promote tourism in Union County and consider funding for outside agencies.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.