City to purchase new fire rescue truck, monitor status of pandemic for Cheerwine Festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2021

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Following approval from city council members Tuesday, Fire Station 6 on South Main Street will soon house a new fire rescue truck from Virginia-based Atlantic Emergency Solutions.

On July 26, the city received a proposal from Atlantic Emergency Solutions to purchase a Pierce Enforcer PUC Rescue fire truck for $1.17 million. Included in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget, which was passed in June, is nearly $1.18 million to cover the cost of a new fire rescue engine for the city. If additional funds are needed, the city will appropriate them in the 2022-23 budget.

Division Chief Jay Baker said there’s an estimated build time of 14.5 months.

Also at the meeting, City Manager Lane Bailey told council members that he and city staff are monitoring guidance from the CDC and state leaders regarding in-person gatherings before making any changes to this year’s Cheerwine Festival, which is slated to take place in-person on Sept. 18. Bailey said though many cities are choosing to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests prior to entry, such a requirement would be too much of a challenge for the festival since it’s held downtown with multiple entry points. Additionally, it wouldn’t benefit the city to host the festival elsewhere, council member David Post said, since it’s an event that focuses on downtown.

In other items at the meeting:

• Council members approved the implementation of a special revenue fund in the budget for federal American Rescue Plan funds. Salisbury will receive a total of $7.23 million, with $3.61 million of that received last week. While city leaders have been awaiting more specific guidance on acceptable uses for the funds, eligible ways include those related to public health expenditures, lost revenue, premium pay for essential workers and infrastructure investments. The council has not yet approved any uses for the funds.

Council member Post asked about the ability to use some of the funds to offset Fibrant fees paid to Hotwire, and City Attorney Graham Corriher said he and Bailey are looking into it, though guidance seems to suggest it’s for those who are unserved and underserved with broadband access. Bailey also said he is looking into the implementation of bonus pay for employees who worked during the pandemic.

Interim Finance Director Wade Furches said city staff will report to the council and the U.S. Treasury each quarter once funds begin to be spent.

• Council members adopted a budget ordinance for $36,442 in the water/sewer fund to award a contract to Buckeye Bridge, LLC, to cover the remaining cost needed to construct a water main extension on Peeler Road. The estimated cost of construction is $580,000, but the accepted bid from Buckeye Bridge, LLC, totals $616,442. At the July 20 meeting, a budget ordinance in the amount of $290,000 was appropriated from the city’s fund balance, along with a $290,000 appropriation from the developer, which is responsible for half of the total costs of the project.

• Council approved a right-of-way encroachment by AT&T for the installation of a hand hole and fiber near 127 South Main St. in addition to a similar request from Spectrum to install directional bore duct on Airport Road.

The council also met in a closed session to discuss a personnel matter but did not take any action at the end of the meeting.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.