Council OKs bonding for used fire truck; higher sidewalk rebate

Published May 24, 2018 at 12:00pm

BY STEVE JONES

Staff writer

The Common Council Wednesday approved bonding for a used fire truck to replace a backup engine that is no longer capable of service.

The current Engine Six, a backup vehicle, has a cracked frame, noted Fire Chief Ronald Brement at the meeting. It was expected to serve in a reserve role for five to 10 more years, but is no longer safe to be on the road, he said.

So the department has located a used truck that can serve that role for much cheaper than the other option: buying a new rig that will take two years to be ready for seven times the price.

The council approved bonding for $70,000 for purchase of a used fire truck. The legislation includes details for a 2000 International Pierce pumper truck. “The fire department being unable to respond because a truck is down is unacceptable,” said Public Safety Committee Chair John B. Mortise at the meeting.

Mortise, R-2, is himself a member of the Stanwix Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

So instead of buying a new truck for closer to $500,000 a waiting two years for it to be built and equipped then shipped to Rome, the city will be able to buy this used model, which Brement has inspected in person, and have it within a couple weeks. This is the first time the department has ever purchased an engine truck used, Brement said. The vote was 6-0 with Councilor Kimberly A. Rogers, R-3, absent from the meeting.

The council also approved legislation to temporarily increase the rebate for the sidewalk program for 2018. The program was started in 2002 to help property owners afford sidewalk repairs and replacement. Property owners are responsible for the costs of such work in front of their parcel.

The temporary increase would be for $8 per square foot for qualifying sidewalks. That’s double the current $4 rebate. The limit would be increased to $2,800 for residential lots, $4,000 for residential corner lots or commercial lots and $5,500 for commercial corner lots. Those limits are all double the current amounts of $1,400, $2,000 and $2,750, respectively. The council also scheduled a public hearing on the tax exemption for veterans of the Cold War. There is legislation for the change but first the public hearing must be held. It will likely be scheduled for immediately before the next meeting, which will be Wednesday, June 13.

The exemption covers those who served in the armed forces from Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991 and were discharged or released under honorable conditions. The exemption is for up to 10 years. The change would remove the 10-year limitation in favor allowing the exemption for as long as the veteran owns the property and lives there. Oneida County has already removed the limit. The exemption is for 10 percent of a property’s assessed value, capped at $6,000, the same cap used by the county. From that amount, the city adjusts it based on the equalization rate.

The council also approved bonding for up to $247,000 to finance the purchase of a sanitary sewer maintenance truck. The city has two such trucks in its fleet now, one a 1992 model and one a 2002 model. The plan is to reduce the inventory by replacing both older trucks with this new vehicle. The initial legislation stated $210,000, but it was amended to reflect a more realistic cost. It will still go out to bid.

The council also approved five property sales:

  • An unnumbered parcel on the 400 block of South Jay Street for $4,000 to Brad Taylor and Benjamin Salloum. The industrial zone parcel with a small cold storage building is assessed for $18,500, according to city records.
  • 500 S. James St. to WD Housing & Holdings for $500. This 0.1-acre vacant residential property is assessed for $1,100.
  • 115 Lyons St. to Joseph A. Calandra for $750. This 0.05-acre vacant residential property is assessed for $1,000.
  • A rehabilitation agreement for sale of 502 S. James St. to WD Housing & Holdings for $5,000. The two-family dwelling is assessed for $11,100.
  • A rehabilitation agreement for sale of 212 Henry St. to Steven and Jennifer Sidway for $5,000. The single-family dwelling is assessed for $7,500.