By Frank Lewis
In somewhat of an act of retribution to the cutting of funds by the state of Ohio, Portsmouth City Council chose Monday night not to donate an aged fire truck to Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).
Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen brought up the topic during the City Manager’s Conference Agenda. It centered around a 1989 1500 GPM Sutphen pumper that had originally been assigned to the Hilltop Fire Station, but had been in reserve status since 1997. In 2012 the vehicle was removed from service entirely due to a variety of mechanical issues.
“I think at one time the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility had expressed an interest in this and the (Portsmouth) fire chief (Bill Raison) still has an interest in donating it to them,” Allen said. “To be honest I would be almost embarrassed to donate that to somebody because it sat outside.”
Allen told Council no matter what they decided to do with the truck, he wanted permission from Council to dispose of it.
“When Mayor Malone was here this did come up,” Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler said. “A couple of us, and I think I kind of led it off, stating that I didn’t feel comfortable giving the state of Ohio something when they were taking everything away from us that they have taken, municipal funding is what I’m getting at. I’m still with that same conclusion. I would just as soon sell it and I would rather just get $5 out of it and put it on our General Fund before giving it away.”
Saddler said he expected Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows, who, on a regular basis, opposes the city giving away things such as property when it could make money off them, would agree with him.
“I’m sure we could haul this off to the scrap yard and get more than $5 out of it, but I cannot tell you how opposed I am to just giving it to the state,” Meadows said. “What have they given us lately? besides Fiscal Caution. They take and take and take and now they still want to take. There is just no way. That just does not work.”
After discussing it further, Council chose to have the truck towed to Livingston and Company Scrap Yard, and get an estimate on the value of the fire truck if sold for scrap, then to auction it off, and if no bids are higher than the scrap value, to scrap the truck. If the bid is higher, to sell it to the highest bidder. Either way, the fire truck will become surplus equipment and taken out of the fire department’s inventory.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.