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Purchase of police radios OK'd for state network

The Common Council voted Wednesday to buy about $275,000 worth of new police radios to correspond with the Statewide Wireless Network, a program meant to make it possible for every emergency agency in the state to communicate with every other agency.

The purchase will be paid for through federal Department of Homeland Security aid and "other federal funds if and when available," the resolution said.

Police Chief Neil B. Merritt said, "Some money is guaranteed, and some we have to get an application for."

The Council had previously voted to join the statewide network as a full partner. Construction on new antenna towers is already under way in Erie and Chautauqua counties, the beginning of a projected five-year program.

Detective Richard L. Podgers said the Police Department will buy 20 to 40 new hand-held radios for officers and 19 mobile radios for vehicles. Merritt said that there might be a need for a repeater site, which Podgers said could cost an additional $100,000.

"The value is being able to talk to any policeman anywhere," Podgers said. "True interoperability means I can go anywhere and get into any talk group."

Also, the Council directed Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano to draw up a law to set a weight limit for trucks using residential streets. City Clerk Richard P. Mullaney said the 10,000-pound limit on Main Street will likely be extended to all other streets except Routes 31, 78 and 93. He said seven streets now have 5-ton limits: Beverly Avenue and Bright, Market, North Adam, North Transit, Ohio and Olcott streets.

The Main Street law imposes a fine of $250 for overweight trucks or a jail term of 15 days. Ottaviano said the new law will exempt school buses, tour buses and trucks making deliveries.

Also Wednesday, the Council approved a contract with Bergmann Associates of Rochester for design work on the restoration on the Flight of Five, the original Erie Canal locks. Bergmann has already been working for the city and, in fact, sent in a bill of $78,204 for work carried out from Oct. 26 to Dec. 1.

The Council last week approved Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers of Amherst as supervising engineers on the lock project. Ottaviano said that firm will be paid $20,000 for the rest of the contract year after previous engineer Barbara A. Brewer resigned and $40,000 for the following year.

The Council also received Mayor Michael W. Tucker's promotion of Norman D. Allen from assistant city engineer to director of engineering, carrying a $5,000 raise to $52,018 a year.

Also, former Water Superintendent Peter J. Sharkey was appointed as a part-time computer technician at $12,638 a year.


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