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Rosston VFD gets new fire chief

By John Miller, 02/15/22 3:10 PM

ROSSTON – Rosston’s volunteer fire department has a new chief.

Will Whisenhunt was tabbed as the new chief after Dustin Cross resigned. This was made official at the February meeting of the Rosston City Council Monday night.

The evening began with a public hearing to close out a grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for the purchase of a firetruck and fire equipment for the department. After selling one of the old  trucks and buying a new one, there was $30,400 left for equipment. A decision was made to buy turnout gear for the firemen. Rosston Mayor Dale Quarles told the council he wanted to do this before the end of last year when it would cost less to buy the gear. This wasn’t possible and it will cost $32,856 to purchase turnout gear for eight firemen. The difference will be made up from Act 833 funds.

In addition, the city had to pay it’s share of the grant, 10 percent or $6,900. Closing the grant also required approval of a drug and fair housing policy for the community.

Because of unexpected expenses, the city’s finances were down around $6,000 from January to February. Quarles said he’s been working on the city’s budget to adjust for the expenditures. One of those expenses was a leak in a hydrant in Lanburg, which will require replacing a two-inch valve. Quarles said a larger valve will be installed in its place which will allow firefighters easier access to more water when it’s needed.

The valve has been shut off to stop the leak. The larger valve will also be used as a flush valve for the Laneburg area. Quarles said he and Laneburg Fire Chief Chris Fore have talked about the situation.

Quarles pointed out part of the problem is inflation and there’s nothing the community can do about it, other than work to reduce expenses where possible. “I’m glad the sales tax passed,” he said, “otherwise we’d have to increase water rates and nobody wants that.”

Rosston will be applying for Act 833 money early this year. Quarles said it seems the sooner it’s applied for the sooner  the city gets the funds. These are monies communities get from premiums paid for fire insurance.