Council decides on new expenditures

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:38

    SPARTA — As the council ties up the details on its $4.7 million budget, they approved the following: Fire trucks The board agreed that gear, equipment and exhaust maintenance work worth $35,000 was needed work. The total amount of $66,500 to make radios FCC compliant, and the repair of weak hoses was also proposed. The debate on whether spending $750,000 to 1.4 Million for a new ladder truck was too much money for the board to agree upon a resolution during the meeting without further documentation. Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith tossed around the idea of purchasing a used truck that perhaps acquired from another municipality may be something to look into, but was rebuffed by Fire Chief Jim Connelly when he said that most of the trucks are in terrible condition and that’s why they are sold to begin with. Engine Trucks 3 and 7 are in very good condition but are beyond the 20-year recommended truck life. The board also talked about consolidating the trucks, breaking them up to produce one good truck, but without a new truck to begin with, the trucks and parts would still be 20 plus years old and would not meet safety codes that have been established in the past 20 years. Councilman Scott Seelagy finished up the discussion with a need to see more detailed documentation at the next meeting on all the fire trucks so they can consider their next move. Police Department The Sparta Police Department asked for and got $109,000 in expenditures. In-car video system replacement and replacing out-of-date software, in-car computers and battery back-up for the 911 call center were proposed. The system overhaul is due to the company the department currently uses is out of business, so an upgrade would be necessary in order to keep the computer system up and running effectively and efficiently. Road Maintenance Road maintenance capital of a total of $161,500, which is the engineer’s estimate, proposed for road maintenance including oil and stone work, road repair and repaving, block curbing and repairing catch basins. The work will take place between the clock and Town Hall and does not include funds of $30,000 that is part of a grant from NJDOT. Part of the allocation will be for mill and pave work on Main Street, Farmbrook Road and Malibu Drive. DPW The Department of Public Works asked for $286,000 to replace two full-sized dump trucks. The DPW fleet consists of 13 full-sized trucks and 70 percent are overdue for replacement. The trucks would be used for snow and ice control. Two supervisor pick-up trucks with plows were also proposed at a cost of $33,600 each. Ideas about acquiring one this year and one next year were discussed, but the board said the full-sized dump trucks were needed because it goes hand in hand with safety issues, The pick-up trucks were then put on the back-burner for now, because the argument that they were just “old” (more than 10 years old) and “had a lot of miles” (127,000 and 121,000) were not persuasive enough for a new purchase. They were waiting on feedback from Jim Zepp before going forward. There is also a back-up generator at the DPW that would need some work at a cost of $45,000 for transfer switch and labor for a panel interconnect. As it stands it is identified in JIF audits as a site deficiency. The board voted to go ahead and get it up and running, rather than letting it sit there and rack up violations. Sewer Utility Projects proposed were an engineering services for a Sewer Plant Conversion at the White Deer Sewer Plant at a cost of $40,000 and a Sewer System Interconnect at Mohawk Avenue at a cost of $50,000, totaling $90,000. Monies asked for and rejected included the purchase of a new senior bus at a cost of $57,000. The last senior bus was bought in 2005 at a cost of $35,000. The precedent that has been set is the bus is changed out every five years. The current bus has 110,000 miles and has some reliability problems and air conditioning issues. The board voted to put off buying a new van until 2012. If problems arise, they said they would deal with them as they come. Also rejected was lighting for Ungerman Field at a cost of $150,000. This would include new, taller poles and new lighting fixtures as well as making the field code compliant. The board voted to keep this in the private sector rather than using public funds for this project.