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Council approves 'rehab' vehicle after much debate

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FERRIS – Councilwoman Carol Wright questioned the spending of taxpayer money Fire Chief Eddie Duran’s requested the council use for a “rehab” truck during the Monday, Aug. 15 council meeting.

“I don’t want to start throwing money away-taxpayer money-if we don’t need it,” said Wright.

Wright mentioned the city pays $1,000 a year to be part of an agreement with 10 other cities for emergency assistance and Ovilla has a rehab truck already.

“It’s not the same environment,” said Duran.

A “rehab” truck is considered a truck firefighters go to for a short reprieve during a large fire in the extreme heat or cold to make sure the men/women feel comfortable before going back to the fire.

The city’s old ambulance has been out of use for more than a year since the city contracted with CareFlite  to start providing the city’s ambulance service.

“It will cost about $1,000 and 5 minutes for filing out a form to fax over to our insurance to get the vehicle added back on,” said City Manager Eric Strong.

Strong produced guidelines for the city council to approve on the management of the vehicle.

Mayor Rick Barrett expressed concerned about the city residents perception of seeing an ambulance driving around again and who will have authority over the vehicle.

“Eddie, will you have authority?” asked Barrett.

The vehicle will be completely stripped down of any markings resembling an ambulance and be marked as “rehab.”

“I know a lot of you serve as volunteer firemen and I commend you for that, I do but right now you are sitting here tonight [Monday, Aug.15]  as elected officials and have to look at the best interest of the city, including the fire department,” said Barrett.

Councilman Gary Ross said several times throughout the meeting he would “just take it [the vehicle] without asking.

“We can put some guidelines but, those are kinda silly- I am not gonna look at it [the guidelines] I am just gonna take it,” said Ross.

The council passed the item unanimously after  reaching an agreement to remove the temperature restrictions and allow the vehicle to cover accidents in the guidelines. 

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