The bills keep trickling in on Payson’s third fire station.
The Payson Town Council on Thursday approved the purchase of a $34,000 compressor and carbon monoxide monitor so firefighters can maintain the air-breathing equipment crews need to work in smoke-filled buildings.
The town already has the equipment in the other two fire stations, but the purchase will allow crews in fire station three to maintain their equipment without traveling to the other stations.
The town received three bids ranging from $33,910 from W.W. Williams Company to $40,381 from L.N. Curtis.
Money left over from a voter-approved bond issue will pay for the new equipment.
The town recently gambled on spending the last of the voter-approved bond money to build a third fire station at the intersection of Highway 260 and Rim Club Parkway, although it couldn’t actually afford to fully staff the station.
The town negotiated a deal on the land and took advantage of low construction prices during the downturn to build the fire station at roughly half the cost of the first two. However, the town couldn’t afford to put a three-man crew on the engine based there.
The council had approved a shift to two-man crews augmented by volunteers, although studies suggest that two-man crews can’t perform critical tasks as quickly and suffer more injuries.
Fortunately, the town landed a federal grant last year, which will pay the salaries of about six firefighters for the next three years, allowing it to fully staff the station.
The fire department spends about $3.4 million annually, about 20 percent of the town’s general fund budget — second only to the police department.