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Alexandria firefighters to get new equipment

The Alexandria Fire Department is bringing its firefighting equipment up to code.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council approved Fire Chief Jeff Karrow’s request to purchase 24 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) packs at a total cost of $93,468.

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The department received “a barn burner” of a price from Alex Air Apparatus, Karrow said, noting that the equipment’s list price is $143,010.

Karrow said the department’s SCBA gear adheres to 2002 standards. Since then, the National Fire Protection Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health set new standards in 2007 and again in 2013.

“We are two standards behind,” Karrow said. “This would set the department up for SCBA equipment a minimum of 12 to 15 years.”

The department will also buy 34 30-minute bottles of air for $16,533, which is also well below the list price of $33,524. The bottles have a life cycle of 15 years.

Two other purchases were also approved – eight spare masks and a voice amplifier for the front-line engines at a cost of $6,537, and 34 quick-connect adaptors with a compressor charging adaptor for $3,171.

The total cost of all of the purchases is $119,708. “We’re saving a total of $66,533 for life safety equipment,” Karrow said.

The money will come out of the fire equipment fund, which at the end of October had a fund balance of $315,196.


In other action, the council:

•Directed staff to look into the possibility of building a public restroom as part of a proposed project to redevelop the vacant Old Broadway building.

•Approved a special event permit for the Holiday Train to stop on the railroad tracks at 8th Avenue and Nokomis Street on Monday, December 16 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The festively decorated train raises funds and awareness for local food shelves.

•Agreed to participate in Douglas County’s All-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan, which covers the years 2014-2018, coordinates how local governments and agencies will respond to disasters and emergencies. The goal is to create a safe community. It involves the county and the cities of Alexandria, Brandon, Carlos, Evansville, Forada, Garfield, Kensington, Millerville, Miltona, Nelson and Osakis. The plan includes a risk assessment of potential hazards in the area, a review of the community’s capabilities and mitigation strategies. By participating in the plan, the city will be eligible to receive disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Schultz agreed to serve as the city’s designated contact for the planning team. There is no city cost to participate in the plan. It’s funded through a federal grant.

•Was informed that all seven members the council recommended for appointment to the city’s charter commission were approved by the chief district judge. They are William Bevill, Bill Jewett, Dan Ness, John Perino, Susan Brede, James Korkowski and DuWayne Paul. The charter commission will study Alexandria’s charter to make sure the rules are being followed. Council directed staff to inform the members that they have until January 6 to sign a written oath of office so their names can be filed with the court.

•Approved final changes to the city’s beer and liquor license regulations. The changes establish licenses for brewer taprooms and off-sale malt liquor licenses, allowing craft beer to be sold in special containers called “growlers.” The biggest change from the proposed ordinance that was approved in November was increasing seasonal on-sale liquor licenses from $3,000 to $3,200.

•Gave final approval to the 2014 fee amounts. Changes include: a new $25 fence permit fee; a new $25 storage unit permit fee; annual on-sale beer-license fees were increased from $265 to $375, which matches the existing fee for wine licenses; temporary on-sale liquor licenses were increased from $75 to $100; a new late fee will triple the annual fee for rental registrations that are received after January 1; fixed fees were established for reviewing building plans for detached garages ($50) and decks ($25); and the park shelter fee was increased from $15 to $20.

•Approved 76 applications for 2014 city licenses for a variety of purposes – club on-sale liquor, excavating, garbage hauling, heating, liquor store, massage therapy, off-sale beer, on-sale beer, on-street loading zones, pawnbroker, peddler, set-up liquor, sign hanger, taxi, tobacco, wine and charitable gambling.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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