With fire trucks and equipment nearing expiration dates, Bellevue city leaders are wondering how to fund the fire department.
Fire chief Perry Guido says the department needs about $2 million to replace two trucks - or eventually, they'll have to take them out of commission.
"It's just been something that we've been having to put off and put off because there's been other areas in the department we've had to fund and there's been limited resources," Guido said. "We've reached a point where the equipment is getting so old we can't repair it anymore because we can't get replacement parts. And it's just time to get stuff on a replacement schedule so this doesn't happen in another 15 or 20 years."
City administrator Joe Mangiamelli says he presented the issue to the Bellevue City Council last month. A possible funding boost lies in a restaurant tax, he says. If the tax brings in $700,000 or less, only a simple majority vote is needed for it to pass.
But nothing is off the table yet.
"The city council hasn't made any decision yet on if it's going to be a restaurant tax or whatever it is," Mangiamelli said. "But, we would have to identify for them what the needs are and what the potential revenue sources might be."
City council member-at-large Pat Shannon says he wouldn't be in favor of a restaurant tax, but he agrees the equipment needs to be replaced. He says he's supportive of shifting money from a capitol improvement fund to the fire department.