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Fire Department Requests Assistance

By Staff | Dec 22, 2009

Frank Kliegl, Chief of Emmetsburg Volunteer Fire Department, came before Emmetsburg City Councillast week to discuss an outstanding debt and ask assistance from the city.

Kliegl explained to the council that the fire department was awarded a grant through Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation for purchase of rescue equipment, extrication equipment, and other items. Invoices were received and paid.

“We closed out the grant in December 2008 and 14 months later we received another invoice for $9,011,” said Kliegl.

Kliegl told the council that in August 2008 there was still money available to be spent before the grant period expired. He contacted the vendors and asked if all invoices had been issued and paid for and he was assured all invoices had been paid. Kliegl then wrote a letter to Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation pointing out that the fire department evidently received better pricing than originally anticipated. The firemen requested and were granted permission to purchase additional equipment to close out the grant.

The first of June 2009, Kliegl said the fire department received an invoice from Heiman Fire Company for $9,011.15. He contacted the company and reminded them that they (Heiman) had said all invoices were sent and satisfied. The invoice order date was March 13, 2008 and the invoice date was May 28, 2009 – 14 months later.

Kliegl stated that the fire department has done business with Heiman Fire Company for many years. Heiman admitted that the invoice “fell through the cracks” and said they would have no problem with the fire department returning some of the equipment at full retail value. However, the fire department would like to keep the equipment, if possible. Heiman offered to reduce the amount of the invoice by 10-percent, dropping the amount due to $8,110.

“If there’s money available, we’ll take it,” said Kliegl.

City Administrator John Bird told he council that the city has $4,700 remaining in its PACGDC fund. He noted that those dollars will have to be spent prior to the end of December.

“We’re obligated to pay the bill or return the equipment,” said Kliegl. “We’re checking our resources.”

Councilman Pat Degen made the motion to authorize $4,700 be used for fire department equipment.” The rest of the council agreed.

“This was an odd set of circumstances, but we were able to work our way through it,” said Kliegl. “Normally when we order from Heiman we receive our invoices from them within a week.

With the funds provided by the city, plus fire department budget and fundraising monies, the fire department was able to pay the $8,110 and keep the equipment.

“That equipment was always on our wish list, and now we are able to keep it,” said Kliegl.

The main items of equipment includes an extrication precision cutter, which allows firemen to get into tight areas; and hydraulic rams, which enables firemen to get into an area during extrication.