Common Council meeting highlights for 12-20-2016

Vehicle leasing plan pitched

At a common council committee meeting on Tuesday, representatives from Enterprise Fleet Management presented a draft proposal for leasing light and medium duty vehicles for the department of public works, with the goal of lowering the overall operating cost.

The company worked with Controller Matt Agresta to evaluate DPW’s vehicles and found that 65% of the 37 vehicles surveyed were over 10 years old. The representatives said that five years is the ideal time to upgrade vehicles given the factors of depreciation, gas mileage, and maintenance costs.

Instead of purchasing an average two or three vehicles each year, the company’s ten-year proposal calls for leasing seven new vehicles each year. The company estimates that the city could realize an overall savings of $37,812 over 10 years, reducing annual maintenance costs from $39,960 to $13,044, and reducing annual fuel costs from $48,840 to $30,525. The cost to lease the vehicles would range from $37,076 the first year, to a high of $153,105 in the fourth year, until settling to just over $100,000 in the tenth year.

Council sets tentative date for second city auction

Council members agreed to move the tentative date for a second city auction of foreclosed properties to January 21. The auction will be run by the city and will be held at City Hall at 10am. The auction will include properties that did not sell at the previous auction, and properties that received winning bids but were not ultimately sold due to either non-pyament or rejection of the sale by the council. Controller Matt Agresta said a final list of the properties to be auctioned will be available at least by the first week in January.

New deputy mayor appointed

The common council unanimously voted to appoint Third Ward Alderman Chad Majewski as deputy mayor for 2017. The position was previously held by Fifth Ward Alderman Jim Martuscello.

Local law introduced to allow city ambulance service

A local law that would change a line in the city charter that specifically prohibits the fire department from running an ambulance service was introduced on the agenda. The council could vote on the law at the next regular meeting on January 3, 2017. The line in the charter which currently reads “the Fire Department shall not engage in or otherwise provide ambulance services” is proposed to be changed to read “the Fire Department may engage in or otherwise provide ambulance services [emphasis added].” Alderman Jim Martuscello stressed that the change would not obligate the city to operate an ambulance service.

The restriction was approved by public referendum in 2004. Since then, the current and former corporation counsels have both issued opinions that a new referendum is not required to remove the restriction.

A committee meeting is scheduled to be held December 29 at 6pm to discuss further details of the proposed service. At a previous committee meeting, Fire Chief Michael Whitty outlined an estimate of the potential costs and revenues associated with running a city ambulance service.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.