MOUNT VERNON — The city of Mount Vernon is looking to purchase a few new pieces of equipment, according to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis.
City Council approved its 2009 budget on Monday and in that budget were appropriations for four new pieces of equipment, including two for the fire department.
The city will be purchasing a new emergency squad and grass fire truck for the fire department. The purchase will give the city four of the newer and larger red squads. The department will use the three newest ones for regular squad runs, with the oldest being converted into a portable refuge from the weather for firefighters and EMTs during fires and other emergency events.
The second item will be a new grass fire truck. The large, four-wheel drive pickup truck will have a tank and hose that can be slid on and off the vehicle.
“We’ll use [the old squad] to help keep the firefighters warm when fighting a fire in cold weather,” Mavis said. “And the truck will have a dual use, with a tank and hose that can be slid on and off so it can be used for other things.”
The two trucks will cost the city approximately $201,500; Mavis hopes to order the squad in the next couple of months.
The city is also looking at purchasing a new maintainer for the street department. The $90,000 vehicle will be similar to a small road grader that will be used for maintaining the alleys in the city.
The final piece of equipment will be a larger Bobcat to be used for the brick street projects, and to dig post and tree holes, as well as other projects around the city. Mavis said the $40,000 Bobcat will be able to lift loads into a dump truck.
In other news, Mavis said the city is still hard at work plowing and salting the streets following the winter storm which hit the city earlier this week. Street department employees were working 12-hour shifts for several days to get the streets in passable condition. They will continue to work on the side streets and those less traveled, and hopefully, get a chance to dispose of some of the bigger mountains of snow caused by the plowing.
“We’ll try to haul some of it if we have any open days,” Mavis said. “The street department and utilities work with dump trucks to haul the snow to a spot near Riverside Park.”
The city received 75 tons of salt on Thursday and has another 75 tons that will arrive shortly, according to Mavis. The salt barn was nearly empty prior to receiving the delivery Thursday, but Mavis said the city had plenty of gravel and salt mix ready to go. The city has put in an order for another 300 tons of salt.
With the heavy snowfall the city has received, some issues are starting to resurface. First is people leaving their vehicles parked on snow emergency streets.
“It will begin to become a plowing problem if they leave their vehicle parked there for a long period of time. But, before we tow, we’d like to notify them, if it’s possible, to move the car,” Mavis said.
The second issue is the clearing of sidewalks, residential and commercial. Mavis reminded everyone that it’s the owner’s responsibility to clear the sidewalk in front of their home or business.
Mavis also said an issue has arisen in the city with the gas aggregate program. It was discovered that there are some city residents who get their gas from Cumberland Gas and not Columbia Gas or one of the other choices available. Those people on Cumberland Gas, including those on Latitude and Longitude drives, as well as a few other spots in the city, are not eligible to be part of the gas aggregate program.