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Village of North Collins eyes emergency preparedness system CodeRED

NORTH COLLINS — Seeing nearby Hamburg implement the CodeRED® emergency alert system several months ago, the North Collins Village Board invited a representative of the firm that operates the system to present, at its Aug. 6 meeting.

Kelli Nutini of the Emergency Communications Network of Ormond Beach, Fla. explained the process of sending out alerts and announcements, as needed. The system is software-based, allowing the village access, without the purchase of any additional equipment.

Nutini explained that village officials could notify all or targeted sections of North Collins about an approaching or existing situation via phone or social media, by drawing a line around a section of a digital map and adding a message.

According to Nutini, ECM has the ability to provide nearly 80 percent of the commercially-available data needed, but it would also require the village to encourage residents to sign up and share additional information such as cell phone numbers, email addresses and Twitter and Facebook information, to make CodeRED as close as possible to 100 percent effective.

Nutini noted that approximately 40 percent of American households now have cell phone service only, making those numbers a key to the program’s effectiveness. She added that the number of young people who have wireless devices warrants the village’s attempts at garnering those numbers.

This system may be used in non-emergency situations, such as street closures or water line breaks, as well. It can also be utilized within departments such as fire and police. Nutini said that she will submit a formal proposal, but estimated the yearly cost for the village would be $1,500.

Fire Chief Jim Miller submitted two names for board approval and commented that this list brings the year-to-date number of new or returning firefighters to nine.

He also requested the board to consider doing an engineering study to see if one of two bay support pillars at the fire hall could be removed and a single, long door be installed, to better accommodate the backing in of the fire trucks.

Miller said that the trucks’ mirrors clear the posts with only 2 inches to spare, at present. Removing one post would gain an additional 2 feet of space and possibly allow the bay to be raised a few inches.

The fire chief sought permission to form a truck committee with a goal of replacing two 1993 class A pumpers with one class A and one four-wheel-drive mini pumper. He estimated that specifications and bids could be prepared by late winter or next spring and delivery could take place some time in the summer of 2015.

Miller explained that a mini-pumper would still meet International Organization for Standardization requirements for water flow, but be able to handle calls for brush and woods fires that make up a percentage of department calls, each year. It would also shave $150,000 off the replacement cost of a class A pumper, which Miller estimated runs approximately $300,000.

The board authorized Miller to take Engine 4, the fire department’s newest pumper, the Firefighters Day at the Erie County Fair on Aug. 9.

North Collins firefighters will assist the Armor Fire Company with a stand-by detail, as well as water supply for the demolition derby, on the last day of the fair. Miller said the invitations come, “as the department’s reputation and capabilities are growing,” and he thanked the board for its support toward those efforts.

In other board news:
– Police Administrator Richard Cooper highlighted his department’s service at the recent jamboree and tractor pull in Langford. While noting some incidents, he said that, considering the size of the crowd, a few are always expected.

– Code Enforcement Officer Phil Tremblay asked Village Attorney Richard Schaus whether or not a state Assembly measure forcing banks to take possession of foreclosed properties had been passed. That bill was designed to give municipalities more power in enforcing code and maintenance issues surrounding abandoned properties.

– Cooper said that, during the period from January – June, court fines for traffic violations ticketed by his officers total $17,755.

– Mayor Vincent George said that the junior/senior high school will host an “Eagle Energy Day” in October. Students and teachers will head out into the community, to assist with projects, cleanup and beautification efforts.

– The board approved renewal of one-year BANs for equipment at $165,000 and Sherman Avenue, $75,000, while also approving the payment of $120,000 to H&K for construction of the new water pump and treatment station.

– The board approved renewing its annual $500 Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition membership.

– George reported that, when the Langford Road pump station is removed, the generator there will be moved to the village hall, where it can provide power for the hall and fire department, in the event of an emergency.

– Board Member Brenda Bauer-Petrus said that the Helmuth Control Budget committee will soon meet and that the Cattaraugus Reservation will take over lead agency status for the dispatch center.

– Board Member Karen Denne reported the success of the hanging flower baskets along Main Street. She said that an additional 10 baskets are planned for next year.

She estimated the cost at approximately $900, which she said fits into the beautification budget.

– Board Member Paul Carozzi suggested that the village obtain its own domain name and set up its own website, to make updates faster. The village is currently hosted on the town of North Collins’ site.

– Bills in the amount of $79,609 were approved for payment, but came under protest from Bauer-Petrus, who found a $750 expenditure from the fire budget for an ice-making machine “Wasteful, when were trying to squeeze pennies for fire protection,” she said.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 in the village hall.


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