CLINTON — The Clinton Fire Department will officially be getting a high-tech river safety upgrade.
The Clinton City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bid to purchase a new fire boat. Lake Assault Boats was the low (and qualified) bid, coming in at $493,100. Two out of the remaining four bids were incomplete.
Fire Chief Mike Brown said the boat is 100-percent grant funded, adding that Archer Daniels Midland was able to pitch in $150,000 for the project. With 75 percent funded by the U.S. Coast Guard, it leaves over $20,000 for the city to use on maintenance and training for the boat. Brown said there is enough funding to last his department 10 years at least, and added that entities have reached out to him to notify there are other grants that exist to continue to lighten the burden.
“They are watching this project locally, regionally and nationally,” Brown said. “There’s funding in the future for whatever we need to operate this boat.”
Previous rulings on the matter were not unanimous by the City Council. The fire boat bid originally appeared on its June 10 agenda but was tabled twice because council members felt they hadn’t received enough information.
At-large Councilman John Rowland acknowledged some contentious discussions about the new fire boat and spoke about social media flack the city has endured while the discussions took place. At the end of the day, Rowland said obtaining the Coast Guard-recommended equipment was the right call.
“This particular resolution’s bounced around and there have been some unanswered questions,” Rowland said. “It’s something I think will be used more than people think in the community.”
He called the boat a “tool” for Clinton to ensure regional and environmental safety.
“We are the stewards of the environment, whether we’d like to believe it or not,” Rowland said. “I think this is a tool to work with.”