Tensions Run High During Eastland City Council Meeting

There were heated words at an Eastland City Council meeting last Monday -- and although there is a resolution, tensions still seem to be running high.

"The frustration with this 180 degree shift, out of the blue, was what prompted my remarks," explained Ron Holliday, City Manager, who accused Fire Chief Phillip Arther of "schizophrenic planning" and saying he used the term planning loosely.

"I suppose 180 is relative to opinion. We simply wanted to provide updated information," said Fire Chief Phillip Arther.

The issue at hand was the purchase of a 75-foot, $716,000 ladder truck, which would be the first one in Eastland County. Currently, the closest ladder trucks are in Abilene and Stephenville.

At the city council meeting, Arther explained that the new truck, a demonstration model, could contribute to lowering the Insurance Services Office rating for the city -- more than the original half-million dollar truck they had been researching and planning on purchasing for the past several months.

"It's a difference of about $150,000," Arther said.

The lower the city's ISO rating, the lower the insurance rates for home and business owners there. 

Eastland's is currently rated at five and according to Arther, the new truck will help lower that to a four.

"By ISO standards and fire regulations, an aerial is needed, and has been needed for decades," Arther said.

While everyone agrees a ladder truck is needed to boost fire protection in the city, the new proposal was one Holliday did not seem to agree with, stating, "It was 180 degrees different from the advice that they were given a very short time ago."

Holliday spoke for about twenty minutes at the meeting, telling the council and those present why Arther's new plan was "incredulous" and "schizophrenic" in what Arther called a character assassination

Despite the harsh words and the drama, ultimately, the council did decide to approve the more expensive ladder truck, which should arrive in March or early April.

"And I support that 100%" Holliday said.

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