By G. Michael Dobbs
CHICOPEE – The Council on Aging is on its way to purchase a new transportation van for the city’s seniors. The vehicle was among the expenditures approved by the City Council at its meeting on April 15.
The current wheelchair van has 131,000 miles on it, according to a memo from Allen Ryczek at the city’s Central Maintenance Garage and “has become uneconomical to repair with numerous fluid leaks and extensive rot to the frame, body and entry way door.” The van at this stage could not pass the state inspection sticker test, he added.
Sandra Lapollo, executive of the Council on Aging, requested $50,000 for the purchase of a new van. City Council James Tillotson said, “There is no question the vehicle needs to be replaced. The elderly depend upon it. The only question is the price and if it could be brought down.”
City Councilor Shane Brooks said he believed, based on the purchase of similar at his place of employment, a van could be bought for less than $50,000.
Residents in the Nutmeg Circle neighborhood will receive new road surfaces as part the installation of new drainage lines. The roads that will be repaved include Cinnamon drive, Nutmeg Circle and Fairway Drive. The council approved $150,000 for the project.
Councilor Timothy McLellan said he would support funding the project, as it would give relief to neighborhoods off of Burnett Road
The Department of Public Works (DPW) also requested $24,000 to purchase two zero-turn riding lawnmowers. The DPW is now responsible for the lawn maintenance for the former Navy Housing and “General’s Row” houses along the border of Westover Air Reserve Base.
Tillotson noted the city has been “having difficulty” selling these properties to a developer and said that buying the mowers for city employees to use is supposed to be less expensive than having an outside contractor cut the grass.
The council approved the expense.
Using surplus funds from a four different accounts, the DPW proposed spending between $6,000 and $7,000 to buy a new air compressor. This request was also approved.
The council also approved the following mayoral appointments to several commissions and boards: William Pagel and Joseph Martin to the License Commission; James Rachilla and Claire Gemme to the Council on Aging; and Ronald Simard, Allen Ryczek, Craig Stefanik, John Arvantis, Michael Beliveau, Fides Ushe and James Lisowski to the Energy Conservation Commission.