Hope volunteer firefighters are planning to buy some new equipment, after their contract with the town is approved.

The firefighters and the Town Council have been at odds for more than a year over the annual contract and went most of last year without receiving any money from the town.

The main issue was over a lawsuit from the department’s contractor over unpaid bills in their project to build a new fire station on the east side of town. That lawsuit was settled and both sides hope to have a contract in place soon.

Fire Chief Randy Wood said the department would like to buy some new equipment and replace old gear. One of the purchases would be take-home medical bags for first responders.

Fire Chief Randy Wood on med bags

The town’s emergency services committee recommended last night that the Town Council approve the contract for just over $76,000 this year. Wood said he is optimistic that the Town Council and the department are close to an agreement.

Chief Randy Wood on progress

Town Councilman Ohmer Miller, who also serves on the emergency services committee, made the motion to approve the contract. Although it was just over $7,000 more than the contract in recent years, he said he thinks the two sides are reaching an agreement.

Ohmer Miller on agreement

The town has had an agreement in place since October and has been paying pay some bills directly, rather than give a lump sum to the department. In the last months of the year, the town paid about $31,000 in bills for the fire department, or all of the bills submitted by the department.