County nails down good deal on used ambulance for Weeksville VFD


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PASQUOTANK COUNTY — At the Finance Committee meeting held on Monday, March 2, county officials agreed to purchase a used ambulance from Tyrrell County, and a new fire truck, to be used by the Weeksville Volunteer Fire Department.

The ambulance cost $64,600 — including all needed equipment. Those familiar with the deal said the vehicle has all the makings of a great buy. EMS Director, Jerry Newell, made the case that although the purchase of another ambulance was not budgeted for this year, purchasing this ambulance would negate the need for the purchase next year. At that time, a currently used ambulance would need to be replaced and this unit would meet that future need.

In addition, the new contract with Camden County will require expanded service, to be met with this additional ambulance. The county will need to re-stripe this vehicle at additional costs, but clearly this vehicle with 36,400 miles is a far cry from the cost of a new ambulance, which would cost about $230,000, including equipment.

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Commissioner Frankie Meads made a motion that the vehicle decals be bid to local firms, compared to the original plan to have this done in western North Carolina. His rationale was very clear that money spent for services in our area, had a multiplier effect, which would not be the case otherwise.

The Weeksville Volunteer Fire Department asked for the county to front the cost of a new fire truck, at a cost of $360,000. Although the purchase is not fully funded, the staff stated their belief that the purchase can be covered in this year’s county budget.

Chief Nick Wooten said the purchase will replace a 30-year-old truck that has reached the end of its useful life. The Fire Department intends to reimburse the county approximately $15,000 of the purchase price, over and above the various funds that will be used for the purchase, which includes some money not spent previously, but which had been previously budgeted.

Later that same day, at the Commissioners meeting, everything went smoothly. Steve Keene, the Governor’s Eastern Representative arrived, along with Malcolm Fearing, the Director of DOT for Division 1, covering this area.

Keene, who has resided in Wayne County for the last 35 years, was touring his large 36-county region, meeting with the various county commissions, like Ferry Director Ed Goodwin had done previously. He stated that he would be the eyes and ears of the Governor. He mentioned that $8 million in funding was about to be announced for the East Carolina Medical School. In addition, he said a $1.2 billion Transportation ‘springboard’ would help our area particularly and that the Governor was committed to connecting US17 with US64 so that the new four-lane road will provide better access to and from Hampton Roads and improve commerce.

According to Keene, the welcome drop in unemployment — from 8 percent to 5.5 percent — represents 200,000 more people working. Compared to the $2.5 billion in unemployment insurance costs incurred by Gov. Perdue, that amount has been pared down to $500 million, while saving $180 million in 2014.

Malcolm Fearing, who accompanied Keene, provided an update on what was happening with road construction throughout the region.