MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Fire Department will benefit from action taken during City Council’s meeting Monday night. Council authorized Safety-Service Director Dave Glass to bid for the purchase of a new ambulance, and to purchase a 2009 Dodge pickup truck and five computers.
According to Fire Chief Shawn Christy, a 1991 ambulance, which has over 70,000 miles on it, will be replaced. The new ambulance will cost $164,000 to $165,000, about $6,000 more than the one purchased 1 1/2 years ago. Christy said added EPA emission standards, as well as visual requirements such as striping, lights and sirens, helped increase the cost. He hopes to have the ambulance by November.
The 2009 Dodge, he said, will replace two old pickup trucks, a 1978 grass truck, the oldest in the fleet, and a 1992 utility truck. Its primary use will be for grass fires.
The computers will be installed in first-responding vehicles. The dispatch centers will be able to communicate directly with the first responders, providing information such as maps of lines and hydrants, and the size of water lines available at a fire scene.
“This is a project we’ve been working on for many years,” said Christy.
Council gave a second reading to an ordinance raising wastewater rates over the next three years. Councilman Mike Hillier said he was asked why the increase was over three years rather than four or five. Glass said the project will be designed in 2009, and construction completed in 2010-11. When construction is completed, it will be rolled into bonds, and the money will be needed at that time to make payment on the notes. If the increase were stretched over four or five years, not enough money would be available.
Hillier said he was also asked whether the $300,000 under bid on the Gay Street project could be put toward the wastewater projects. City Auditor Terry Scott responded that it was not characteristic to use capital improvement money for utilities. Councilman Burt Hanson explained that according to state law, the cost of utility projects had to be borne by the utility’s users.
Glass said he had received some comment about the increase being a 34 percent increase; this increase applies to only half of a resident’s bill, the wastewater part, not the whole bill, he said.
Any resident who thinks they are using too much water or wastewater can have it checked by the city. Mayor Richard Mavis said if a large leak is discovered, it can mean a reduction in the bill. The other scenario where a reduction may be possible is for a resident with a new house who is watering his or her lawn to get the lawn started growing.
Council waived three readings and adopted a resolution authorizing Glass to advertise for bids for the Vernonview Drive/Wooster Road waterline project.
“This waterline will connect other waterlines in the city, so if we are in a situation where we need to do maintenance on one ... we’d be able to shut it down and not lose water pressure,” said Councilman Burt Hanson. “The goal is to have a circularity of waterlines so the pressure will be equalized if we have to shut down one of the lines.”
In essence, said Glass, it allows both water towers to be used at the same time, thus boosting pressure, keeping a better water quality and quantity. The increased pressure benefits firefighting, too.
The cost is $540,000; $250,000 will come from low-interest loan money through Issue I.
Council also waived three readings and adopted a resolution authorizing Glass to advertise for bids for demolishing the former Connell’s building at 205 W. Ohio Ave. The city budgeted $50,000 for the demolition.
“[Demolition] removes an eyesore and allows us to move forward on the Sandusky Street project,” said Councilman John Fair.
“We would like to move ahead on this project because when we start the Gay Street project, there will be a lot more traffic there,” said Glass.
In other business, council:
•Authorized Glass to advertise for bids for the purchase of a diesel-powered maintainer. The equipment will be used to maintain alleys; $90,000 has been budgeted. The current equipment had to have parts manufactured for it for repairs needed last year.
•Gave a first reading to a resolution granting the Woodward Development Corp. a 15-foot wide easement in the Vine Street right of way. According to Glass, this is where the Woodward Opera House’s geothermal wells will be located.
•Gave a first reading to an ordinance that fixes the number, wages and benefits of hourly non-bargaining unit city employees, and to an ordinance, which sets the pay of seasonal employees.
•Approved the city auditor to make supplemental appropriations and pay bills.