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Monett rural plans for new fire station

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red stickers will be sent to all Monett Rural Fire Association members for 2012. Dues for the year were due on Dec. 1, 2011. Stickers should be placed on the blue membership signs distributed to members last year.
Monett Rural Fire Association elected board members and discussed construction plans for a new main fire station during the organization's annual meeting. Around 50 people attended the gathering, held at the Monett City Park Casino. Board president Larry Long presided at the meeting.

No additional candidates placed their names in nomination for the three-year board seats. Re-elected to continue serving were: Kevin Huffmaster, District 1; Paul Wimsatt, District 2; Randy Hall, District 3; and Greg Carlin, District 4.

John Hull was elected to fill out the remaining two years of Mike Shanks' board seat from District 2.

The financial report showed the association finished the year with a positive balance.

Major purchases for the year included a splitter valve for the pumper truck. The addition allows crews to fill the tanker and run hoses off it at the same time without losing pressure.

The switch by the Monett Communications Department from analog to digital equipment prompted the replacement of older hand-held radios and other communications equipment. All equipment is now up to date.

In light of the association's positive financial outlook, board members talked in detail about longstanding plans to build a new station east of the second city station in the Monett Industrial Park on land donated by EFCO Corporation.

According to board member Paul Wimsatt, the main financial priority has been to have all the trucks in good running order before taking on a long-term financial commitment. With record low interest rates likely to rise in the coming year, board members felt the time was right to move forward on the building.

For the past year, the board has put $800 a month into a separate account for a building. Previous the association had received a $40,000 donation for the project. Proceeds from two chili suppers totaling around $2,000 have been added.

A conceptual drawing of a station has been prepared. Ideally the association would like to erect a three-bay building, with door on both the north and south ends, to house all of the vehicles and provide space to wash them indoors after runs. The structure could be reduced to two bays and expanded later if necessary, Wimsatt said.

Wimsatt said the building will incorporate the Monett Chamber of Commerce's concessions building with kitchen and bathrooms from the former livestock show grounds. A roof will be added to provide storage space over the addition.

If funds permit, Wimsatt said the association would also like a add a training room. Presently firemen have used facilities in the city's industrial warehouse, which houses the second fire station.

Wimsatt said the next step will be to get bids for the dirt work and talk to the bank about borrowing the balance needed to begin construction. Drawings with specifications will be needed before construction can go to bid. Board members have talked about using a red iron frame similar to the big hangars at the Monett Municipal Airport, Wimsatt said, which would provide a stronger structure.

Assistant Chief Phil Ogle reported firefighters made 157 calls in 2011, up 14 from 2010. Mutual aid calls were up during the year, reflecting good relations with neighboring departments and fire districts.

Ogle extended thanks to the firemen and their wives for the support that makes the needed time commitment possible. Presently the department has 19 of its 20 firefighter spots filled, up from 14 at this time a year ago.

Dues for 2012 were due on Dec. 1, 2011. Members will receive a red sticker to place on their blue sign to show they are active.

Payment of dues can be made at The CPA Group, 217 Fourth St. The CPA Group has handled the association's taxes in the past and accountant Ryan Nestleroad has agreed to process payments.

Questions about memberships can still be directed to board secretary Kevin Huffmaster at 235-3555.

The next annual meeting was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, at the First United Methodist Church in Monett. The next board meeting will be held on Jan. 31 at Huffmaster Insurance, Seventh and E. Cleveland, at which time officers for the year will be elected.

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