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December 03. 2013 10:51PM

Manchester aldermen OK three new fire trucks for $1.3 Million

MANCHESTER — Aldermen have given the go-ahead for the purchase of three new fire trucks for $1.3 million.

The pumper trucks will replace three 18- to 27-year-old trucks scheduled to be taken out of service in the 2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Fleet Services Director Wesley Anderson, who oversees the city's Motorized Equipment Replacement Program, urged the aldermen to approve the contract before Dec. 31 to avoid a 2.5 percent price increase from the manufacturer, Greenwood Emergency Vehicles.

The contract was approved unanimously at Tuesday's Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Mayor Ted Gatsas was involved in the negotiations over the price. He noted that the city was essentially getting three trucks for the price of two. The trucks will cost $435,754 each.

Alderman-At-Large Dan O'Neil praised the deal.

"We're keeping the fleet up to date," he said.

The Fire Department is currently seeking a $1 million federal grant to replace one of its aerial, or ladder, trucks. Fire Chief James Burkush said after the meeting it remained to be seen whether the city would win the grant, which he called "extremely competitive."

The contract comes as the Fire Department is grappling with a projected $200,000 budget deficit in the current fiscal year, due largely to larger than anticipated overtime costs.

Burkush said the strain on the overtime budget was related to injuries.

"We have a very senior group of firefighters, and people have experienced injuries on the job and off the job," he said.

Contract, dog rules OK'd

Also on Tuesday, the aldermen approved without discussion a new two-year contract with the union representing police support staff. They also OK'd a tougher dog fouling ordinance and moved forward another ordinance that would place greater restrictions on dogs deemed vicious.

The agreement with the police support union gives the employees 1 percent raises in each of the two years, with employees picking up 17.5 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums; new employees would pay 20 percent.

The wage and insurance changes are identical to those agreed to in October by Water Works employees. The two unions were the only two representing city workers that rejected contract concessions last year.

The dog fouling ordinance removes a provision in the current regulation that made it enforceable only if the act of not picking up after a dog was witnessed by a police officer.

The vicious dog ordinance sets penalties for dogs that have been found by a court to be "a nuisance, menace or vicious to persons or property." Tuesday's vote sends the ordinance to the Committee on Accounts.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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