Officials lay out capital requests

Naugatuck Public Works Director James Stewart presents capital requests to the Board of Finance Monday night at Town Hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — A new fire engine, plow truck, and patrol cars are among the capital items borough officials are seeking funding for in the coming fiscal year.

Representatives from the fire, police and public works departments presented their capital requests to the Board of Finance Monday night.

The fire department’s request is the largest, coming in at $1.54 million. This includes $1.2 million for a new aerial fire engine to replace the current one.

Fire Chief Ellen Murray said the borough’s aerial fire engine is over 17 years old and coming to the end of its serviceable life. She said the department looked into refurbishing the firetruck, but the cost came in at $428,000 with another $11,000 needed to replace the engine.

Murray added refurbishing the truck would take six to nine months, and the department would have to rent an aerial truck for $9,000 a month.

“We don’t feel it is fiscally responsible to put close to $500,000 into a vehicle to extend its life a couple of years,” Murray said.

The department is also requesting $140,000 to add antennas around the borough to boost the department’s radio signal strength and eliminate dead spots that exist now.

The police department requested $578,483, including $375,981 to replace nine vehicles.

Deputy Police Chief Josh Bernegger said this includes replacing six patrol cars that are coming to the end of their life. The cars typically have around 50,000 miles on them, he said, but they are running practically 24 hours a day and have a lot more wear and tear on the engine than other vehicles with higher mileage.

The department also wants to replace a Ford F-250 with a plow, which the department uses to keep its parking lot clear, an administrative vehicle, and the department’s motorcycle.

The police department’s request also includes $177,420 to upgrade to the NexGen Computer Aided Dispatch and Record Management System and $20,287 for a 3M Cogent LiveScan machine.

The management system allows officers to write reports, fill out accident information, sort and search case numbers, and input data from their vehicles

The department currently uses Hunt Computer Design, but that system is becoming outdated, Bernegger said.

“The issue that is coming up for us lately is how fast technology is progressing. Hunt is not keeping pace with what is going on out there and for us it is becoming problematic,” Bernegger said.

NexGen currently services 140 out of the 169 municipalities in the state, he added.

The LiveScan machine automatically uploads fingerprints to the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and reports back information, including whether anyone has outstanding arrest warrants, Bernegger said.

The state mandates the department has one of these devices, Bernegger said. However, the machine the department has now is 12 years old and too old to continue to be serviced, he said.

The public works department is seeking $1.36 million for 19 capital projects and items.

The largest request is $300,000 for street paving.

For the last few years the department has requested $150,000 and used the $250,000 it received from that state’s Local Capital Improvement Program (LOCIP) grant to repair and repave roads.

This year, the state has said it is not funding the LOCIP grant, Public Works Director James Stewart said.

Stewart said only spending $150,000 on paving would make the roads deteriorate faster than the borough could keep up. He recommended adding $150,000 to the borough’s contribution and taking $700,000 from a road improvement bond residents approved in 2014.

Stewart said the borough needs to spend at least $1 million a year on paving in order to ensure its roads start improving.

“If we keep raising the paving numbers $150,000 a year up to $1 million, the bond money will fill in the gaps so we can keep paving at $1 million from now on,” Stewart said.

The department is also requesting $162,200 for a new plow truck and sander.

The truck will allow the department to hire one less contractor to plow during snowstorms, Stewart said.

Stewart said, if the borough splits out the cost of the truck, maintenance, and driver over the truck’s 15-year life span, it still costs less than hiring a contractor during snowstorms.

“For close to or less than the contractor cost, we can run and own that truck all year,” Stewart said.

The finance board made no decisions Monday night. The board is expected to hear from the IT department this coming Monday and review the requests.