By Ron Leir
The borough is looking to borrow close to $1 million for public safety and public works improvements.
On June 21, the Borough Council voted for the introduction of two ordinances that would authorize the borough to bond up to $988,000 for these measures. The ordinances will get a public hearing at 7 p.m. on July 12 at the Borough Hall.
One of the ordinances calls for spending up to $633,000 for the following:
• $200,000 for a new ambulance for the North Arlington Emergency Medical Services/ Volunteer Emergency Squad. EMS Chief Anthony Mondaro said the new unit would replace a 13-year-old vehicle with more than 100,000 miles logged that serves as one of two backups. “We typically run two ambulances every day,” he said. The squad responds to calls in the borough and in surrounding communities when needed, he said.
• $200,000 for retaining walls and related improvements at various locations including the municipal parking lot at Ridge Road and Fisher Place.
• $116,000 for new video equipment and firearms for the Police Department. Borough Administrator Terrence Wall said the new weapons would replace 15-year-old “long guns” used by a tactical squad dealing with hostage-type situations. “The new guns will have a better range and higher f ire power,” he said.
• $35,000 for a new SUV for the Police Department.
• $42,000 for new vehicle lifts for the Public Works Department garage.
• $40,000 for installation of solar panels on the roof of Firehouse Station No. 1.
This ordinance targets $90,000 for financing expenses to pay associated professional fees for architectural, engineering, accounting, legal and inspection services plus interest fees
These bonds are to be paid off over a period of about nine years and four months. The other ordinance calls for spending up to $355,000 for the following items:
•$250,000 for new communication and signal systems equipment consisting of a new radio system for use by various Borough departments in order to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) narrow band mandate.
• $105,000 for new, additional or replacement equipment and machinery for the Borough Fire Department, including personal protective equipment (turnout gear), a thermal imaging camera, equipment for a pickup truck and equipment for the new pumper fire engine.
Volunteer Fire Chief Robert Melofchik said that to comply with the FCC rules for getting first-responder units on the same radio frequency, the borough is moving to a repeater transmission system that relies on three locations: Schuyler Fire Co. 1 on Schuyler Ave., Engine Co. 1 on River Road and Borough Hall. Another one is being added near Allan Park, he said.
Melofchik said the thermal imaging camera is designed for the protection of firefighters in a particularly dense blaze where “it almost eliminates the smoke. It will definitely give us better sight.”
A “fit-testing” machine being acquired will check for leaks in firefighters’ oxygen masks, the chief said. “We use it at least once a year,” he said.
The Fire Dept. is also getting eight new sets of turnout gear, Melofchik said. “We replace protective clothing for firefighters every 15 years and we do it in phases so the borough doesn’t get hit with a big bill for everybody at once,” he said. Right now, the volunteer department is riding with 80 firefighters, down from its normal staffing of 85.
And the department will also be ordering a new “key box,” a security-controlled container that holds a unique key designed to open boxes at more than 50 local private firms and those boxes, in turn, hold keys to access those companies in cases of fires and other emergencies, the chief said. The private boxes are alarm-rigged in the event someone tries to break in, he said.
Financing costs for this ordinance are estimated at $5,000 and this bond is t o be paid off after eight years and five months.