Northampton mayor to present capital plan, including money for new fire truck
NORTHAMPTON — Mayor David J. Narkewicz tonight will present the City Council with recommendations to spend about $1.66 million on capital improvement projects, significantly short of the nearly $41.1 million that city departments requested.
The plan is part of a five-year capital improvements program and details projects in departments including fire, public works, police and the city’s schools. Most of the money, about $1.2 million, will go toward vehicle replacement, including $545,000 for a new frontline attack engine for the fire department.
Also tonight, the council again will take up a Community Preservation Act request for $75,000 to rehabilitate the cast-iron fountain once located in front of the main building on the Northampton State Hospital campus.
The council split on whether to approve the request at its last meeting and delayed a vote until tonight in hopes of hearing from the Community Preservation Committee and Historical Commission.
In addition to that CPA project, councilors are expected to take second votes on five other projects totaling $337,400.
The meeting begins with public comments at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building.
The $1.66 million capital plan for fiscal 2013 includes spending for 18 of the 61 projects reviewed by the council’s Capital Improvements Planning Committee.
The largest item is for the new fire engine, a purchase that has been delayed for several years. Industry standards recommend that fire apparatus should last 20 years, serving on the front lines for five years before being shifted to backup and then reserve status, Narkewicz said in a memo to councilors. The department has had two engines on the front lines for a dozen years, both of which are in poor condition and have required constant repairs in recent years.
The Department of Public Works is in line to get $474,000 to replace three vehicles in its fleet, including a 1998, 10-wheel dump truck for $300,000, a utility van for $100,000 and a pickup for $74,000.
Other vehicles are planned for the Police Department, which would get $67,500 to replace two cars for administrators; $65,000 toward the down payment for a new ambulance; $44,000 for a new dump truck for the School Department; and $22,000 for a new vehicle for the Building Department’s inspection and emergency response efforts.
In addition to the dump truck, the School Department would receive another $151,500, two-thirds of which would be used to improve technology. It is needed to implement a new educator evaluation system and to meet testing levels set by the state Department of Education.
The schools would use other money to replace the high school’s current video surveillance system it received from the Police Department, chimney repairs at R.K. Finn Ryan Road School and a portable generator.
Other proposed spending includes $122,000 for Central Services, with $50,000 to help pay for roof replacement at the Academy of Music removal of underground oil tanks at three city buildings; exterior modifications to City Hall including rear roof work and improvements to the area in front of the building; and modifications to the back door of the municipal building to bring it in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The DPW would also get $73,600 for repairs to the Water Street bridge in Leeds and $65,000 to repair a floor in the mechanics’ bay of the main barn.
Narkewicz said he relied heavily on the recommendations of the Capital Improvements Plan Committee in drafting the spending proposal.