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Chicopee to follow governor’s orders on essential businesses

March 24, 2020 | G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – Mayor John Vieau used the opportunity of his mayor’s briefing at the City Council meeting on March 17 to assure residents the city is taking proactive steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Vieau said that while some aspects of city life are changed temporarily, the goals of his administration is to continue to do “normal things” such as filling potholes, making sure all city employees get paid and supplying police and fire services to residents.

Vieau said he has been thinking about what the city schools are going to have to do when classes resume.

“I couldn’t be more proud about the way this city is handling this,” he added.

Noting that events in this crisis are changing quickly, he advised people to consult his office’s page on the city website or call 211.

“I know God is with us in this crazy and contentious time,” he said.

City Council President Shane Brooks noted that two councilors – Joel McAuliffe and Lucian Gadecki – attended through teleconference.

The council approved $95,073.34 for raises for the city’s patrol officers and $44,997.02 for the same for the police supervisors. Councilor Robert Zygarowksi, a former police officer, said the increase in pay was “long overdue” and stated that many Chicopee officers have left for other departments over pay issues.

The council accepted a reimbursement grant from the United States Marshall Service for $6,111 that will help fund compliance check for sex offenders. The Police Department also received a $3,115 grant to pay for seven bulletproof vests.

The purchase of a new Ford Transit for the city’s library was approved as well. The allocation of $28,302 will be used to replace a 2005 Ford Transit.

Councilor James Tillotson declared, “This is a win-win for the city because it’s [the allocation] not coming out free cash. It’s coming out of [the library’s] account.”

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