LABELLE — The Hendry County Board voted Aug. 27 to convey a surplus antique fire truck, Engine 56 which went into service in 1950, to the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corp. (LDRC) for $1.
Commissioner Karson Turner asked to pull the item from the board’s consent agenda to discuss the donation briefly.
According to the staff report from Office of Management and Budget Coordinator H. Ian Proverbs, the clerk’s office sought disposition of the vehicle because it had been listed at public auctions seven years ago but received no bids; its engine is obsolete; it’s not working and can’t be used for spare parts.
The county board’s resolution to dispose of the vehicle by donating it to the nonprofit LDRC, says that the organization “applied to (the county) for donation of the fire truck to be used to promote and preserve history, culture and architecture in the Downtown District.” The only condition was that “the corporation shall be responsible for all labor necessary to relocate the fire truck from the County Road and Bridge (Department) compound.”
Commissioner Turner remarked: “I’d like for us to not only give that to them but I’d really like for us to have a proactive conversation with either taking Tourism Development (Council, TDC) dollars or … I don’t want to touch any of Shane’s budget (Public Works Director Shane Parker’s) … but, I just think that we don’t need to make that organization go out of pocket to refurbish something that is going to essentially be a gem that we want to have … encouraging visits, and so I think that’s something we ought to look at.”
Commissioner Darrell Harris replied, “I don’t think they are.”
Questioned by Mr. Turner, he added, “They are going to take it, but I don’t think they’re going to do anything out of pocket.”
Commissioner Michael Swindle asked, “They want it refurbished?”
Mr. Harris answered that the LRDC does, “and I think they have somebody in mind.”
With that, Commissioner Turner moved and Mr. Harris seconded that the donation be made. It was approved 5-0.