WAPELLO, Iowa — Firefighters rely on water to put out fires, but the Wapello City Council chose water over the hopes of local firefighters for a new fire station in the near future.

The council agreed to pursue a May 7 referendum that will ask voters to approve up to $775,000 in bonds to build a new swimming pool. The Wapello Volunteer Fire Department had requested the council hold the referendum on building a new $2 million fire station.

City officials said the pool’s more developed plans and lower costs were the deciding factors, explaining the city’s current bonding capacity could not finance the fire station.

They agreed to continue working with the fire department to update its planning and said they hoped the fire station proposal could be ready for a bond issue as early as 2015.    

In other action, Police Chief Wayne Crump reported his department still did not have full access to software developed by the Iowa Department of Transportation. He said the lack of full access was preventing his officers from obtaining car licensing information through computers recently installed in the department’s squad cars.

Both the computers and the DOT software were financed through the same federal grant program. City officials said they would contact the governor’s office for assistance.

In final action, the council held a 25-minute closed session to discuss real estate and set a March 7 public hearing on its 2013-14 budget.

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