By Ashley M. Casey
The North Syracuse Fire Department is looking to replace its most-used vehicle, Rescue 7, to the tune of nearly $750,000. The heavy rescue vehicle, which Pierce Manufacturing calls a “gigantic toolbox on wheels,” carries equipment for technical rescue situations and emergency medical services.
“This is the signature vehicle for the fire department. It is the busiest piece of equipment,” Mayor Gary Butterfield said at the May 11 meeting of the North Syracuse Board of Trustees.
The board voted to authorize the purchase of the vehicle from Pierce Manufacturing for a cost not to exceed $747,663 and to authorize the mayor to sign a contract.
Both actions are subject to permissive referendum, meaning that any resident who is opposed to the resolution may start a petition within 30 days of the vote. If more than 10 percent of the village’s residents sign the petition, the village must hold a vote on the issue.
The board also voted to engage the bond counsel of Trespasz and Marquardt, a law firm specializing in public finance, to guide the village through the financing process. The village will pay $8,500 for the firm’s services.
Village attorney Scott Chatfield said Trespasz and Marquardt recommended the village fund the replacement of Rescue 7 through serial bond issuance. The village will make a down payment of $80,000 out of the fire equipment reserve.
As for the price tag of the rescue vehicle, Chatfield reminded the board that the amount is not to exceed $747,663 and the manufacturer may offer discounts.
“You can always borrow less, but you can’t borrow more,” he said of the bond.
In addition to the Rescue 7 resolutions, the board discussed the following:
• Electronic signs: The village trustees continue to examine the issue of business signage, turning their attention last week to electronic signs. Current local law requires businesses installing new electronic signs to appear before the planning board and pay a $250 application fee and a $2,500 engineering fee, the latter of which may or may not be refunded.
Mayor Butterfield said he recently had a conversation with a business owner who wants to update an existing electronic sign, but the village code does not distinguish between new and existing electronic sign installation.
Village engineer Amy Franco said the code would have to be revised to address the issue.
“I would like to see a comprehensive review of our sign code. It’s 13 pages in our [code] book for signs,” Butterfield said, adding, “We don’t want our Route 11 to look like … Vegas. We want it to be tastefully done.”
• Community garden: During the public comment period of the meeting, Dave Robinson reported that most of the plots in the United Community Garden, located behind North Area Meals on Wheels, are now spoken for.
Robinson, a NAMOW board member and garden volunteer, said the new registration system through the Northern Onondaga Public Library has been a success, and the weather finally has cooperated.
“It’s finally above water,” Robinson said of the garden. “The garden committee had us put in another strip of garden space. … It’s gained some momentum from last year.”
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.