April 01, 2023

Creston council approves new fire truck

After two years of determining what is needed for the Creston Fire Department’s next truck, Creston City Council approved Tuesday a bid of $420,471 from Toyne.

Creston Fire Chief Todd Jackson said the new vehicle will replace one that dates back to 2000. Creston’s America Rescue Plan funds will be used for the purchase. Those funds are from the federal government to local municipalities that lost revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s getting old and tired,” Jackson said about the truck to be replaced.

The one truck to be replaced does not contribute to the fire department’s status with property insurance. “Commercial is where you see a difference,” he said about the ratings.

Jackson said the research for a new truck included replacing it with something similar that is easy and maneuverable. But it carries less amounts of water, has a smaller water pump and does not enhance the department’s insurance standing. Insurance companies base their premiums off a department’s equipment, water capacity and other factors.

“We had a rural customer who was denied insurance coverage because we didn’t take the required minimum of 4,000 gallons,” Jackson said. “That was the final clincher.”

Creston fire has enough trucks to cumulatively hold the 4,000 gallons when used on the same call. Creston’s fire district is 216 square miles.

Jackson said the new truck can be a first response unit to fires in Creston with a two-person staff and enough water for seven to 10 minutes under typical conditions.

“This one is a pretty basic truck that carries a lot of water,” he said.

Jackson said the specifications on the truck can be altered for a fee of less than $1,000 that would extend the warranty on some of the lights of the truck.

“I anticipate wanting to do that change order,” he said.

Toyne trucks are built in Brita. Expected delivery is April 2024. Jackson said availability of the chasis is the main reason for the delivery date. Jackson expects to keep the older truck which could be remodeled and used with other city departments.

Jackson prefers an entire fleet of trucks to replaced in a staggered scheduled over 24 years.

In other council news...

Council members explained their opinions about allowing non-Creston residents on the city’s airport commission. The commission is in need of a member to fill a vacancy. City code only has Creston residents on the group. No decision was made. The six-member board, including one city council member, has staggered, six-year terms.

Council member Richard Madison said he is concerned of a non-Creston resident potentially spending Creston city tax funds.

“We are paying for the whole thing,” said council member Matt Levine, who added he is not opposed to the idea. He is the council representative on the commission.

Council member Steve Wintermute said he is also not bothered by the idea as long as city council has full control of the airport operation. He said he knows of Union County residents who are interested in the airport. Other council members were not opposed to the idea. Council member Joycelyn Blazek was not in attendance.

Mayor Gabe Carroll reminded the council the town’s library board can have up to two non-Creston residents on its board.

“It’s worth exploring,” Levine said

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.