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Tue., Oct. 6
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Ogdensburg City Council approves $40,000 road roller purchase


OGDENSBURG — Officials hope a road equipment purchase will help repair streets that suffered winter’s wrath.

The City Council unanimously approved a motion allowing City Manager John M. Pinkerton to buy a new road roller at a cost of about $40,000.

The money for the purchase will come out of this year’s $330,000 state Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program award for the city. The roller, supplied by the Syracuse-based Vantage Equipment LLC, will help the city repair its roads, which were heavily damaged this winter.

Vantage Equipment offered the lowest price of three companies that bid on the contract.

Known as a “vibrating roller” as Councilor Wayne L. Ashley explained it, the 10-ton piece of equipment will arrive in the city within a few weeks, said newly appointed Director of Public Works Scott A. Thornhill.

The purchase of the new roller, which is actually a used machine that has been refurbished, was necessary; the city’s 20-year-old roller failed to pass inspection this year.

“It currently does not operate,” Mr. Thornhill said. “We cannot move it.”

Mr. Thornhill said he hopes the city will be able to get a maximum of $4,000 for the vehicle at auction.

Mr. Thornhill said he believes the new vehicle will last for up to 10 years.

But the purchase was questioned on the grounds of its cost-effectiveness during the council’s meeting.

Councilor Jennifer Stevenson was concerned that the purchase would divert funds from desperately needed road repairs, noting that in some places in the city roads are falling apart even from light pedestrian traffic. “We’ve got a lot of miles to pave,” she said.

Councilors Michael D. Morley and William D. Hosmer also questioned the advisability of purchasing the vehicle outright as opposed to leasing one for the summer.

Mr. Hosmer said that at roughly $5,000 a summer — an estimate on the cost of a lease given by Mr. Thornhill at the meeting — the city could lease a roller for the next eight years without going over the $40,000 price tag of the used model.

Both councilors rejected the idea of leasing a vehicle, however, when Comptroller Phillip A. Cosmo informed them that CHIPs money can be used only to purchase vehicles.

Addressing concerns that the purchase may detract from the city’s ability to fix crumbling roads, Mr. Thornhill said he is confident the city will be able to get the job done after the price of asphalt this year is forecast to be down from previous years.

In other City Council business, three public hearings were held at Tuesday’s meeting without any input from community members.

Without comment from the community, City Council went forward with the lease of city land to a food vendor and modifications of traffic control at two intersections.

The Council unanimously approved a motion to remove a no turn on red sign from the intersection of New York Avenue and Spring Street. Members also unanimously approved a motion to remove the yield signs at the Champlain Street and Route 37 intersection following the installation of traffic lights last year.

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