With not much on the agenda the Empire Town Council held their regular meeting Tuesday night.

 Mayor Robert Skiles informed the council that he would be signing the paper work for acceptance of the Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) 2010 grant from the Association of South Central Oklahoma Government (ASCOG) on Thursday night.

“With this money we plan on fixing up the fire department,” Skiles said. “We need to bring some of the equipment up to date and possibly do some additional stuff as well.”

Skiles also noted that Empire had been approved for the grant about three months ago, but because of the economy Skiles was not sure how much Empire would receive.

Thursday evening Skiles followed through and signed the paperwork for a $45,000 grant with a cash match of $2,500.

“I’m really pleased with how much we received,” Skiles said. “We will be able to do a lot of great things to our fire station now.”

Empire Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ricky Hyde added that by receiving the REAP grant money it will help the department tremendously.

“We are also going to add to that fundraiser money from this year to the grant money that we received,”  Hyde said. 

Hyde noted that the month of June was also the month to hold fire department elections. He stated that each of the positions up for election remained the same, except for the electing of new main station captain Terry Yearby. Hyde was re-elected for another three years as the fire chief.

“I am honored that I have been elected for another three years,” Hyde said. “It’s good to have a great bunch of guys to support me.”

The Empire volunteer fire department annual fundraiser will be held on Sept. 11 at the main fire station and Empire community building.

“We have elected an interdepartmental coordinator for everyone to go to for questions,”  Hyde said. “Electing a coordinator will help relay messages and concerns that we may have or that the council may have.”

Tim Helton discussed with the council the status on building and facility insurance and an update on the itemized list of equipment, supplies and materials to be covered. He noted that with the Empire volunteer fire department using the community building for training and meetings, they will be switching the community building insurance to firefighter risk management insurance.

“All of the fire trucks have been on liability and we updated them all to comp and collision,” Helton said. “We were first covered by private insurance and with that being up we are now switching it over to be covered under the firefighter risk management.

The council also discussed  different ways for the town of Empire to use Community Development Block Grants.

“We started to brainstorm in our last meeting and we are continuing to think of ideas now,” Skiles said. “We want to be sure to look at all of our options and all of our needs before we make a decision.”

—Matt Tillson is a reporter for the Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354 Ext. 142 or via e-mail at matt.tillson@duncanbanner.com.

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