The Mayflower City Council approved allocating $32,000 to purchase new turnout gear for the fire department during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.
The city's financial director, Dale Carter, confirmed city officials had approved the funding for new turnout gear in the 2018 Fire Fund Budget. On Tuesday, aldermen voted unanimously to allocate funds from the fire department's account to go toward new gear.
Fire Chief Josh Woods said some of the department's current gear dates back to the early 1980s and that the need for more turnouts had become a safety issue.
"It's all about the guys' safety," he said. "Without us being able to be safe, we can't help people. This is greatly appreciated."
Aldermen unanimously approved funds to purchase 19 sets of turnout gear for volunteer firefighters in Mayflower.
"[T]he Mayflower City Council recognizes [the] need to purchase  sets of Blood Borne Pathogen Resistant Turn Out Gear for the Mayflower Volunteer Fire Department," the ordinance reads. "[T]he need for the gear, concurs with its importance, and supports the Mayor in his efforts to proceed with the same."
Mayor Randy Holland said current turnout gear has posed as "a major safety issue" for the fire department and was glad aldermen allocated the funds to improve the firefighters' safety.
Woods said money will also be used to purchase boots and gloves to go along with the turnouts.
In other business, alderman passed an ordinance allowing the street department to move forward with a lease agreement on a compact track loader.
"The Mayor of the City of Mayflower is hereby authorized to enter into a lease purchase agreement for a JCB 320T tracked loader, angle broom, dozer blade, and brush grapple not to exceed $105,000," the approved ordinance reads. "This lease purchase shall be based on a term of not more than  months, an interest rate of not more than 3.76 [percent] and a maximum monthly payment of $1,753."
The Mayflower City Council voted 5-1 in favor of the lease, with Alderman Will Elder voting against the request.
"I hate to rain on the parade, but all you people know that we're in a financial bind," he said as he spoke out against the request. "The way you get out of that is to not spend a dime that you don't absolutely have to until you get out of that situation."
Holland said the financial bind was not within the street department's funding and clarified the issues are within the general fund.
Alderman Brian Williams questioned whether other city departments would be able to use the new equipment.
"Is this exclusively for the street department or are other departments able to use [it]," he asked Street Department Director Jimmy Johnson. "If the fire department needs to clean up a burned down house, can they use [the track loader]?"
While the track loader will be listed as the street department's property, Johnson said there was nothing keeping other city departments that need to use the piece from using it when needed.
"This will be very beneficial to [to the city]," he said.
Apart from city business, the Mayflower robotics team — Metal Eagles Robotics — spoke about their upcoming competition and demonstrated some of their robot's capabilities. At the end of the meeting, the team volunteered to help clean city streets that are currently in need of litter control.