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Northampton to buy new fire truck as part of its capital plan

— After years of budget delays, the city is moving ahead with plans to buy a new frontline attack engine for the Fire Department.

The $545,000 purchase is part of a $1.66 million capital improvement plan for the current fiscal year. The City Council approved the 18-project plan at its meeting last week.

In addition to the fire engine, the plan includes another $655,000 in vehicle purchases and more than $400,000 for a variety of other projects, from a new roof at the Academy of Music to technology upgrades for the school system.

The Fire Department has made a request for a new engine for several years. Two of its older engines have been on the frontlines for a dozen years, far exceeding industry standards. The engines are in poor condition and have required constant repair in recent years.

One engine caught fire due to mechanical failure while responding to a structure fire. The city also had to borrow an engine from the city of Springfield for six months while another engine’s motor was rebuilt.

“This is one of those big-ticket items that we’ve put off for years,” said Mayor David J. Narkewicz.

City Council President William H. Dwight asked whether the city has approached Smith College for a donation that would help offset the engine’s cost. Narkewicz said officials did not do so in this case, but intend to do so in the future.

“It makes sense given that large events may occur on their campus,” Dwight said.

Money for the capital projects is coming from a variety of sources, but the council was pleased that the city will not be borrowing for the projects this year.

Here is a list of some of the other projects:

∎ $634,587 to the Department of Public Works, of which $474,000 will go toward replacement of a dump truck, utility van and pickup. Other projects include a repair of the floor of the mechanic’s area of the DPW barn, a Spring Grove Cemetery roof repair and Water Street Bridge repair.

∎ $195,500 to the School Department, including $100,000 for technology upgrades, a new dump truck, a portable generator, parts for a new video surveillance system at the high school and chimney repairs at R.K. Finn Ryan Road School.

∎ $122,047 to Central Services, including $50,000 for roof replacement at the Academy of Music. Other projects include removal of underground storage tanks from three city buildings, exterior modifications to City Hall and modifying the municipal building and Council Chambers to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.

∎ $77,500 to replace two administrator cars at the Police Department and to replace pistols.

∎ $65,000 to the Fire Department to put towards the down payment for a new ambulance.

∎ $22,000 for a new vehicle for the Building Department.

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