KEYSER - After receiving two bids for the installation of LED safety lights on the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department's ladder truck, the Keyser City Council unanimously approved the lowest bid Wednesday night.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - After receiving two bids for the installation of LED safety lights on the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department’s ladder truck, the Keyser City Council unanimously approved the lowest bid Wednesday night.
Fire chief Brett Biddle had gone before the council on Jan. 24 to request the lights to be placed on the ladder truck. He estimated the cost of the lights alone at $5,400.
At the time, the council members seemed lukewarm about the idea, with Karol Ashenfelter saying the city officials had to keep in mind they would probably be faced with purchasing a new engine in the near future.
When one council member called the lights “cosmetic,” it angered several firefighters who got together approximately a week later and demonstrated just how dark it is at the top of the 105-foot ladder.
The video of a firefighter ascending the ladder into darkness was posted online.
Wednesday, although city administrator Randy Amtower was not present for the council meeting, he had left a report with city clerk Brandi Paugh stating that he had obtained bids from two businesses for the purchase and installation of the lights.
Paugh told the officials that Amtower, council member Eric Murphy and several firefighters had met with a mechanic who “agreed the work suggested was needed” on the truck.
Bids were obtained from Sam’s Custom Services and EVS, both of the Hagerstown area, and that the bid from Sam’s was the lowest for the same amount of work.
With $62,420.99 in the city’s fire protection fund, from which a $27,279.16 truck payment must be taken, Amtower recommended the council approve the $7,765.83 bid from Sam’s Custom Services.
The bid includes the lights and installation, as well as some extra items for the ladder.
Murphy said he was especially impressed with the representative from Sam’s, who spent “probably four hours” meeting with him and Amtower.
Noting that the council was simply trying to “run the city like a household” and get the best price for what is needed, Ashenfelter made a motion to go with the bid from Sam’s Custom Services.
Murphy second it, adding, “I think we should have done this two weeks ago.”
Council member Terry Liller agreed with Ashenfelter.
“Randy did exactly what the city should have done … make sure we get the best value for the money.”
The motion passed unanimously.
Following the vote, council member Jennifer Junkins told the fire  company representative who were present at the meeting that the Jan. 24 discussion was the first she had even heard of the need for lights.
She told them to make sure “anything else that comes up that’s a safety need” be brought before the mayor and council.