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Jamestown to seek state money for fire truck

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Getting the state to kick in some money for a new ladder truck for the Jamestown Fire Department could be a challenge in the 2021 Legislature.

The ladder truck was purchased by the state in the 1980s, to provide fire protection for the State Hospital. Last summer, the truck failed.

The city came up with a plan to replace it. One third of the money would come from the fire department’s equipment replacement funds, one third from donations and the final third from the state. But in the meantime, the city is paying for the new $1 million ladder truck from the Fire department’s replacement fund, and the city would ask the Legislature for a $333,000 appropriation to help replenish the fund.

State agencies don’t seem to be interested.

"This is like a gnat that won't go away, when you're trying to sleep at night," state Human Services Director Chris Jones said at a recent state Emergency Commission meeting. 

Jones told the Commission his department offered the fire truck to the Department of Corrections, which runs the James River Correctional Center, on the grounds of the state Hospital. Jones said the answer was, “no thanks.”

"I know this has been a bone of contention with the city and the state at times," Jones said. "At this point, it has been detemined it's not in the state's interest to now do anything with this fire truck."

"This will not die," said North Dakota House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington). "There was a precedent set here, so this discussion isn't over yet."

The state has accepted a $13,000 insurance check on the damage to the truck. That’s on a policy with a $25,000 deductible.

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