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The finance committee of the Dunkirk Common Council set the wheels in motion Tuesday to replace the Fire Department's 25-year-old pumper.

The panel approved bidding for the much-needed equipment. Fire Chief Michael Edwards told Council members the department has been working on bid specifications for a long time.

The city has $70,000 in the budget line for fire equipment, according to fiscal affairs officer Terrence Valentine, who noted that the city would consider a lease-purchase plan for the equipment.

"It's time to go for it," city Treasurer Mark Woods remarked.

The city also will investigate trading in or selling the old pumper.

Edwards also said the department is considering replacing the 11-year-old heavy-rescue vehicle, which answers 1,800 calls per year and is in need of repairs.

"There are several options," he said. "We'll get the people from the city and Fire Department together to see what kind of a vehicle we need. We will identify needs now and five years ahead before we draw the specifications."

In other matters, the city plans to employ better monitors on its equipment. To this end, engineering aide David Manzella is seeking assistance from the Chautauqua County Department of Public Works.

Valentine said under consideration are repair and maintenance schedules for all equipment and a projected timetable for replacing it.

"Long-term planning is necessary," he said. "We also needs a reporting system for the fleet, which shows the cause and details of all failures."

Randy Woodbury, director of public works, said that if such records had been implemented before, the city would gave fared better during the recent snow emergency, when the city's old sidewalk plows failed and Mayor Robert Kesicki made an emergency purchase of a new plow.

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