Easthampton City Council approves appropriations for DPW

March 13, 2023 | Tina Lesniak

EASTHAMPTON — At its March 1 meeting, the Easthampton City Council approved roughly $475,000 in appropriations for the city’s DPW.

The biggest appropriation gives $120,000 to the DPW to purchase two new F350 medium duty trucks to replace two trucks from 1994 and 2007. Although the city is looking to move toward having a fleet of electric vehicles, this level of truck is not currently made with an electric option. However, the council is hopeful that by the next time the DPW needs new trucks there will be options.

In addition, the move will pay for $100,000 in fuel costs for the city and a $78,000 emergency sewer line replacement and relocation between Union Street and Payson Avenue for a sewer pipe initially installed in 1897. The appropriations include $65,000 to dispose of a backlog of street sweeping materials. These materials have to be tested for hazardous materials and cannot just be disposed of in typical fashion. The DPW will also receive $22,500 in a grant match for the Emerald Place Slope Stabilization project.

The appropriations will also fund $60,000 worth of new water meters which will provide a much more accurate sense of how much water is being used,” said Councilor Daniel Rist, chair of the Finance Committee. They will also pay $4,702 for an old salt bill from fiscal year 2022 and $25,000 for a full-time custodian for the Council on Aging and City Hall.

COVID-19 commemoration

The council also approved and read a declaration making the first Monday in March COVID-19 Memorial Day. This is a movement backed by the organization Marked by Covid, a nonprofit leading a national movement for pandemic justice and remembrance. Councilor Owen Zaret noted that the country is “three years into a viral pandemic that has substantially changed our lives.” He went on to note that the community should recognize the work of public safety personnel.

Changes at the library

The meeting began with several people from the city’s library coming forward to discuss some significant changes, the largest being a name change from the Emily Williston Memorial Library to the Easthampton Public Library. Elizabeth Applequist, president of the library’s Board of Directors, announced that the board recently voted to make the name change. She said that the board hoped it would increase recognition, avoid confusion with the school, and help to develop a closer connection to the city.

The board also voted to continue honoring the role of its founder by creating the Emily Williston Local History Collection and Archives.

All of this came about as Mayor Nicole LaChapelle requested a $510,000 appropriation for the library from the Cannabis Stabilization Fund. The council voted to move that request to the Finance Committee for its consideration, which was scheduled to happen at its March 8 meeting.

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