Jamestown City Council has approved purchasing four new police vehicles and funding the first phase of the Chadakoin River stabilization project.
The funding of $160,000 for the police vehicles will come from the lost revenue category of funding of the over $28 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funds. Council member at large Kim Ecklund thanked Council for taking time to review proposed projects despite criticism from Mayor Eddie Sundquist that Council was taking too long in approving spending of funds, “I don’t agree with that statement, Mr. Mayor. I haven’t many times. I think, you know, just like you had some time to develop this plan, this council needed some time to develop and listen to some of the projects by the department heads in all fairness. So, I appreciate it. I’m glad to see these things moving forward and some of the revenue funding being used to purchase things that are desperately needed in public safety and elsewhere in this city.”
Council also approved funding $277,750 from the Water, Sewer and Broadband funds category of American Rescue Plan monies toward the removal of debris and clearing of trees from the Chadakoin River by the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.
The resolution for a new contract with the Jamestown Professional Fire Fighters Association was tabled until January with council members citing more time needed to review the financial impact of the contract.
Mayor Sundquist said he doesn’t fault council for tabling the agreement as there is a lot to consider in the contract, “It’s a pretty significant agreement that not only settles a year behind of contracts but continues forward for several years. And by settling that, we will have for the first time since 2015 this unit working under a current contract which is a huge deal.”
The contract includes hiring four additional firefighters who will staff a second ambulance. It also includes wage increases of 2.5% for years 2021 through 2023, followed by a 2.75% increase in 2024. While there are percentage increases to the City’s health insurance plan, the contract ends lifetime health insurance for all newly hired firefighters.
Council did approve a contract with the JCAA union which represents employees in the Department of Public Works, Assessor’s Office, and Comptroller’s Office. That contract would run from January 1st, 2022 to December 31, 2025. The contract also represents employees who work for the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency, but the JURA Board still needs to approve that portion of the contract.