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Roads chief outlines wish list for equipment

Michael E. Hoffman, city highways and parks superintendent, presented the Common Council on Wednesday a list of nine equipment purchases he wants.
Although his chart was labeled "5-Year Capital Plan," all the vehicles had 2009 purchase dates.

Hoffman acknowledged it was a wish list, and Mayor Michael W. Tucker said, "We're not going to buy it all this year, I can tell you that."

However, if the city begins full curbside recycling this year as planned, the purchase of a new garbage truck to carry the recyclables would be practically mandatory. The tab for a 32-cubic-yard packer and a chassis would be $160,000, Hoffman estimated.

Hoffman said he would like to replace a 10-year-old, 27-cubic-yard packer. The packer alone costs $55,000.

Tucker, who said in his State of the City address Tuesday that Lockport has to be prudent in making major purchases, repeated he will stick with that principle.

"We'll have to have a conversation with the city treasurer and see what our funding options are," Tucker said. "We'd like to turn over our equipment, but we have to be careful."
Hoffman said the city could borrow the money or lease to purchase, as it did last year with two ambulances.

Alderwoman Richelle J. Pasceri, R-1st Ward, said the recycling committee on which she serves is close to making recommendations for how and when to start a recycling program.

"We have to be fiscally responsible, but you have to do something with equipment, because if you don't, everything goes at once," Pasceri said.

Hoffman's second priority is a new six-ton dump truck with snowplow, estimated to cost $158,000. It would replace a 17-year-old truck. Hoffman said he hopes the money for that would be available from state highway aid, but the future of such aid is questionable because of the Albany budget crisis.

The rest of the list, in priority order, includes a three-deck mower, $75,000; a half-ton short-bed four-wheel-drive pickup truck, $21,000; two half-ton long-bed two-wheel-drive pickups, $15,000 each; a one-ton dump truck with a plow, $36,000; and a one-ton pickup with a plow, $28,000.

In other business Wednesday, the Council approved a resolution declaring the Lockport Ice Arena in the former Jubilee supermarket on Chestnut Street would not have a significant environmental impact. The Council ruled the rink a permitted special use Feb. 4. Both moves were needed to get the State Dormitory Authority to release $400,000 to buy the store.

Tucker told residents during the public comment period that the city is looking for solutions to sewer backups in homes in the southeast part of the city. First reported Dec. 28, the backups have been seen on streets such as East Park Lane, Davison Road and Park Lane Circle.

He said some are speculating recent improvements to sewer pump stations in the Town of Lockport may be a factor, but there is no proof. Tucker said the sewer lines are running nearly full, so excess water is coming from somewhere.

Tucker said the city plans to rent a sewer camera to look inside the pipes.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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