Council Approves Purchase of New Equipment for DPW

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

It’s no secret the Department of Public Works has been hurting when it comes to equipment, but the City Council took the pain away a little Monday night when it approved two loans orders for $1.5 million for the purchase of new equipment in the DPW and the Water and Sewer Department.

Prior to the regular council meeting Superintendent of Public Works Don Goodwin explained the need for new equipment, such as a “hot box” to heat asphalt for pothole repairs and several trucks to be used during any season. Goodwin said he is ordering a crane truck to be used at the 23 pumping stations in the city. Also on order are two pickup trucks, three one-ton dump trucks (all able to use snow plows), a trash compactor truck and a small chipper.

Most of the vehicles in the department are 12-20 years old.

“Without the necessary tools and equipment we can’t do what we have to,” said Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso.

“This has been ongoing for two and a half years,” Goodwin said. “We are at a critical point with the manufacturer to order (so the equipment will be here for the next winter.)”

Goodwin said the city is also is working on a capital plan for equipment to plan for five to 10 years into the future.

As for the DPW building on Charger Street, Goodwin said a feasibility study is in progress to see whether the building should be repurposed or torn down.

“It’s leaning toward a new building but we would need a larger footprint. Its hasn’t been determined yet,” Goodwin said.

In other council business:

  • Michelle DeBellis was appointed to the Commission on Disabilities. Robert “Toby” Cassidy was appointed to the Conservation Commission and Robert Selevitch was appointed to the Licensing Commission.
  • Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch Jr. asked Goodwin about the condition of the St. Mary’s ballfield and the flooding situation there.. Goodwin said the water table there is high to begin with. When it rains the town line creek running by the field floods and Goodwin said the field is built on marsh. Patch thinks it’s worse than the old park. Goodwin said the DPW would be able to use pumps on the field if needed.
  • Director of Finance George Anzuoni gave an update on water meter replacement program. He said 10,411 meters have been replaced, but 159 still have to be done. He said there had been some issues regarding access and letters have been sent to them. If the meters are not replaced the owner runs the risk of having their water shut off.
  • Permits were granted for 7-9 Dehon St., a multi use combination of four micro units and two retail spaces. A special permit was also granted for 44 Railroad St., the future home of a medical marijuana facility. Plans now go to site plan review.

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