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North Tonawanda fire chief to detail equipment needs at council's budget workshop

NORTH TONAWANDA - The North Tonawanda Fire Department will request nearly $500,000 in capital projects funding from the city's 2017 budget to replace aging equipment, including self-contained breathing apparatus for all paid firefighters.

Fire Chief Joseph Sikora will present his spending plan at the Common Council workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 216 Payne Ave.

Mayor Arthur G. Pappas has already given the fire department's requests the green light in his $36.4 million spending plan, which he presented last week. The proposed budget would hold the tax rate at the 2016 level of $13.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, said Pappas. A public hearing on the final budget will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 9.

Sikora has requested $350,000 to purchase 45 to 50 new self-contained breathing apparatus.  He said the current masks are 15 years old, unsafe and need to be replaced.

North Tonawanda City Clerk/Treasurer Daniel Quinn said it would cost $100,000 to purchase the parts to upgrade the masks, but in five years those parts would no longer be available.

The Fire Department also plans to upgrade an aging fire rescue vehicle by using $100,000 in matching funds from State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda. Quinn said Rescue 1 goes out on every call which makes it "well worth spending the money."

Sikora also noted that the city fire department has  received $1,600 in New York Power Authority Greenway funds, through Niagara County Legislators Richard Andres and Randy Bradt. The funds were used to purchase two new gas detectors.

He said the department put the detectors in service last week. Residents can ask the fire department to come to their homes to check levels of gas emissions, including both carbon dioxide and natural gas. Sikora said it is a service the city fire department has always provided, but the detectors it had were 10 years old.

Superintendent of Public Works Brad Rowles will also discuss his 2017 budget Tuesday night at the council workshop meeting.

The Department of Public Works has a proposed budget of over $1.2 million for continued road and sidewalk improvements - which includes $900,000 expected from the New York State Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program. Pappas said his city budget would appropriate an additional $300,000.

Another $75,000 in city funds has been allocated to public safety to purchase additional recycling totes.

"They'd like to finally get enough so that everyone in the city can have one of the larger-style totes," said Quinn.

The Common Council also plans to hold a special voting session during the workshop to appoint Aaron Mohr as fire captain at its meeting on Tuesday.




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