Backus Fire Department receives $10K donation for turnout gear

Council manages regular business at February meeting


BACKUS — The Backus Fire Department was awarded a $10,000 grant for turnout gear ahead of the Feb. 6 regular city council meeting, according to an emailed meeting summary from City Clerk Ann Swanson.

The fire department has been fundraising and filing for grants in search of funds to help replace turnout gear almost constantly over the last few years.

Fire department safety equipment all has a mandated expiration date due to accumulation of chemicals from smoke and wear and tear from extreme environments, but the cost of outfitting each firefighter is thousands of dollars, leading the department to seek help replacing a large amount of gear.

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The council learned that firefighter Orlyn Steffen resigned and firefighter Chris Cunningham submitted his official retirement, both effective at the end of 2022.

The city continues to work on several other projects at this time. Council members Rae Borst and Ann Birge, along with Swanson, met with Amanda Peterson, of Sourcewell, to discuss progress in revising the city's zoning ordinances. Adoption of the revised ordinances is anticipated in April or May.


In addition, citizen volunteer Dan Miller spoke to the council about the growing demand for more airplane hangars at the municipal airport.

Swanson said the city is hoping for grant funding to help develop a hangar site and taxiways; however, Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics is currently prioritizing safety needs over developments like hangars.

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