Niagara Gazette — Dave Kinney, the director of the Department of Public Works, is looking to purchase over $1 million worth of equipment for his crews.
Mayor Paul Dyster submitted a resolution on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting asking the council to approve the spending at Kinney’s request.
Kinney said he has been patiently waiting to update much of his equipment in the absence of casino revenues and now that the dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state has been resolved he is hoping to replace some of his beat-up trucks, pay loaders and lawn mowers.
Kinney and other department heads had to reign in spending during the four-year dispute which began in 2009 after the Senecas said the state was violating the exclusivity clause in the contract by placing gaming machines at state-run race tracks within the exclusivity zone outlined in the agreement. The state and Senecas reached an agreement in June and withheld revenues were delivered to the city in August.
“We ordered basically nothing during the whole dispute,” he said.
Kinney also explained his equipment gets a great deal of use and wears out quickly.
“Most of my equipment is running every day,” he said.
And by replacing equipment, especially vehicles, his workers can be more efficient and his department can cut down on costs related to repairs, Kinney said.
“The newer the equipment the less maintenance,” he said.
Before the gaming compact dispute, Kinney said he spent approximately $1 million a year on equipment and was able to keep his fleet well updated.
When buying large equipment like dump trucks and street sweepers costs can add up quickly, he added.
“It doesn’t take long to eat up a million bucks,” Kinney said.
Dyster said before the stoppage in casino revenues his administration was working to build up the DPW fleet to increase the productivity of the department and have a rotating equipment inventory, allowing the city to trade in vehicles while they still have value.
“What we’re trying to do now is get back on track for that,” the mayor said.
With enough equipment the department should be able to handle major road projects without the help of an outside contractor, Dyster said.
“We’ve sort of built up a contracting company within the city,” he said.
Dyster said one of the first priorities of his administration is to maintain the roads, bridges and parks that are owned by the citizens.
“Our first duty, not just for quality of life but for economic development, is to take care of the public realm,” Dyster said.Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257