AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Commissioners say fire trucks belong at the station house and not the repair shop, so that’s why they support funding for new rigs.

“Make sure that we have trucks that are on the road that are able to respond to the calls that are needed. Currently, we have quite a few that are out of service because the company that we used before can’t find engines for them anymore,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett. 

Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on using almost $7 million in American Rescue Act funds for new fire trucks, but some commissioners say that might be too much spending at one time.  

“I think we could have been more conservative in our ask and spread it out over a longer period of time,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.

Others say fire trucks are not the purpose of Rescue Act funds.

“The federal government sent us those American Rescue Plan dollars to help people recover from the pandemic, so I don’t think six million dollars is the proper usage for what we’re talking about,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.  

“One of the allocated usages that was approved by the federal government was for public safety, and this is definitely a public safety issue,” said Commissioner Garrett. 

In past years, sales tax funds were used for fire trucks, but when commissioners approved the projects for SPLOST VIII projects, there was no money for fire vehicles.  

“Was that a mistake?”
“Well, that’s something you must ask the previous administrator, there were some requests put in there and he removed them before it got to us,” said Garrett. 

But that’s leaving city leaders with a hot issue to decide on.