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Arnold to reallocate federal grant money for unanticipated repairs to fire truck

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Arnold Council opted to reallocate some anticipated federal grant money to pay for unanticipated repairs to a fire truck.

Councilman Anthony “Butch” Sgalio and city Fire Chief J.C. Tedorski said the fire companies were undergoing recommended annual testing of equipment when they learned one of their fire engines isn't pumping water properly.

Tedorski said the 20-year-old engine still is functioning, but the pump needs to be taken care of before it doesn't work or fails in the middle of an emergency.

Sgalio said the repairs are expected to cost about $45,000.

Since council on Tuesday needed to finalize the budget for spending an expected $315,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money, they changed the preliminary budget they established last month to accommodate the fire expense.

Community Development Officer Tom Dunn said assisting fire departments, especially volunteer operations like Arnold's, is permitted under grant program guidelines. In fact, he said grant money helped buy the engine.

In addition to the $45,000 repairs, the grant money will pay for a final $52,000 loan payment on a different fire engine purchased in 2010.

Tedorski said the fire companies hadn't intended to request additional grant money this year until the need for repairs surfaced.

Sgalio said repairing the truck would be more affordable than replacing it to the tune of $600,000. Tedorski said the truck has never needed significant repairs before, despite its age.

Other items trimmed

To pay for the repairs, council opted to reduce other items they intended to fund with the grant.

The allocation for the code enforcement office dropped from $39,000 to about $29,000.

Street improvements dropped from $60,000 to $50,000.

Some roads that may be included for upgrades include the 14th Street railroad crossing and parts of Dr. Thomas Boulevard, McCandless and Richmond streets, Riverside Drive and 18th Street near Kennedy Riverside Park.

Dunn cautioned the grant money must be used on roads that either benefit the entire city or that are used primarily in low-income neighborhoods.

He said including some of the streets may require residents to be surveyed to ensure they meet income guidelines.

The budget for park improvements was reduced from $20,000 to $5,000. Councilman Ron Hopkins said the money likely would be used to fix the roof of a building at Roosevelt Park; any money left over would be used for park equipment.

Council eliminated the $10,000 Councilman Dave Horvat had asked be set aside for an unspecified public service project to benefit senior citizens.

Left unchanged in the grant budget was $43,000 for demolition of blighted buildings, a $34,000 payment of redevelopment project loan and almost $57,000 for program administration, which covers the salaries of Dunn and his assistant.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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