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Concerned there are no funds in the mayor's proposed capital budget for replacement of three of the fire department's four pumpers, Fire Chief Michael Edwards told the Common Council Tuesday night that replacing such equipment "must be the first priority" for his department.

At a budget review session in City Hall, Edwards estimated the three pumpers would need to be replaced within five years.

"They are still exceeding life expectancies," he added.

Fourth Ward Councilman John Woloszyn asked what happened to the $35,000 the city was "putting away" each year in a capital account to be used to purchase new fire apparatus.

Former Fiscal Affairs Officer Charles Herron, now city director of development, said the funds were transferred out of the account to help pay the settlement in the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. assessment case and to fund the waste water treatment plant.

Councilman at Large Frank Gawronski said the funds should never have been transferred from the fire department.

Fiscal Affairs Officer Michael Heath said he is looking into leased or lease-purchase agreements for fire equipment.

Edwards also expressed concern about the leaky roof at fire headquarters on Eagle Street. "When it rains, the buckets come out," he said.

The other three fire stations have new roofs, and the Council said it will look into this disparity.

Edwards also was concerned about the $13,819 cut in Mayor Margaret Wuerstle's proposed budget for protective clothing for the volunteer firemen. The amount proposed for 1997 is $5,000. The gear is expensive, Edwards said.

In reviewing the budget for the Department of Development, the Council looked for cuts in travel and training. Gawronski noted the travel budget was increased by $5,745 to $10,000.

Herron explained that travel is necessary for face-to-face meetings. He wants to work cooperatively with Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency to contact non-local owners of companies that may be interested in locating in the Dunkirk area.

Herron is planning to attend a conference in Washington, D.C., shortly to learn how to put electricity under municipal rather than private control. He also said he will be looking at options for the Farmers Market, including putting it under private control.

The Council has finished its public review of the budget and must adopt a budget by Dec. 16. A public hearing must be held by Nov. 15.

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