WCESD#4 begins discussion on need for new equipment
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
For Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 (ESD), growth and expansion have been the primary focus for a number of years.
Station #2 is open, land has been purchased for a third station, a new engine is now in service, and the ESD has consistently been adding firefighters. The discussion Monday turned to the growing need of a ladder truck to meet changing service demands.
“We are already hearing talk about apartments and we already know we are getting some big box stuff coming to our area,” said ESD Chief Anthony Lincoln. “We have a 24-foot extension ladder. That’s the tallest ladder we’ve got.”
A ladder truck will likely cost the ESD between $1 million and $1.5 million, compared to the engine brought into service last year at $680,000.
“We’re at a point in time where we need to run as an engine ladder combination,” Lincoln said. “The truck would have 500 gallons of water on it so it can be an engine or a ladder. It has a 35-foot ground ladder on it plus the ladder on top is 107 feet.”
There is also a year lead-time to order the truck and take delivery, which means planning as far in advance as possible is critical.
“That’s why we’re looking now, because it’s a year to build it,” Lincoln said.
The ladder truck being considered is shorter than the traditional truck, which means it will fit in the two current stations with 50-foot bays and 12-foot doors. There was no specific timetable discussed at Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting for planning and the purchase of a ladder truck.
“We’re moving forward getting prices and putting spec sheets together,” Lincoln said. “It’s quite a job to get all that stuff together before you can come up with a price. It will be an ongoing discussion for us and somewhere down the road we will have to decide what we want to do.”
The ESD welcomed a new face to the Board Monday, as Commissioner Chuck Walker replaced outgoing Commissioner Jeffrey Roemer. Commissioner Keith Bright was reappointed to the Board.
Walker is a Registered Professional Surveyor who has lived in Pct. 2 of Williamson County since 1983 and currently resides in Liberty Hill.
In 2003, he served on the Cedar Park Mayor’s Task Force on Development. Walker is a graduate of both Leadership Cedar Park and Leadership Leander and served as President of the Leander Chamber of Commerce in 2006-2007.
The Board also elected officers for the new year, keeping Dan Clark as President, James Baker as Vice President, James Crabtree as Secretary and Bright as Treasurer. Walker will be Assistant Treasurer.
Shortly after retiring a 40-foot by 12-foot mobile home and metal shed purchased in 2018 to serve as the temporary Station #2, the ESD has sold both items, recouping nearly what was originally spent on the items.
The two items sold at auction for $17,850 after originally being purchased for $23,300.
Call volume up
With 2019 wrapped up, Lincoln said the ESD saw a 21.33 percent increase in incident responses from 2018 to last year. The department responded to 1,928 incidents last year, compared to 1,598 in 2018. The total per year had gone up just over 100 incidents per year from 2015 to 2018 before jumping 339 last year.