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Council seeks to dispose of surplus equipment
Duquesne City Council on Tuesday accepted the resignation of two police officers. Mayor R. Scott Adams thanked officers Joseph Hayes and Brian O’Toole for their service. Adams also wished the duo the best on their future endeavors.
Assistant Police Chief Kara Vance told council she has been working on obtaining an $88,000 grant for department upgrades, according to new City Manager Scott Crawford.
“She does the work,” he said. Vance has made steps to obtain a new police vehicle, and that is to be “rolled over” into a separate grant to increase the department’s fleet by three automobiles. The authorities are looking into the lease for the high-mileage vehicles, and Crawford promises more information as it becomes available.
Police Chief Tom Shaw also said the department has applied for a $645,000 grant for computers and other equipment. Funding may also be available for body cameras.
Shaw said that the community may start up another neighborhood crime watch “again in the future.” He will have updates when there are more details.
Speaking to council over Zoom video-conferencing, both Shaw and Vance noted that the department may look into adding a K-9 officer to its ranks. Some initial conversations have taken place with officers in neighboring communities.
Adams recommended that the department proceed with caution before adding a canine to the force, noting that it’s “expensive” and “it’s a lot of work.” He noted that the department had a K-9 previously and it takes a “loyal” officer to take over the post. “Someone who planned on sticking around.”
Vance said that there is funding available, that local businesses could be approached for donations that are tax deductible, but talks are just “in the very early stages.”
In other business, city officials are also looking to get rid of some equipment that they no longer use. Located near Duquesne’s incinerator building, there is an old backhoe, a dump truck and at least one other vehicle — all in differing degrees of disrepair — that they hope to get off the land, added Crawford.
Public Works Director Mike Kurta will try to assign values on the vehicles and see if they can be sold.
Adams said there is also a 1,000-gallon 1994 model fire truck in the volunteer fire department garage that should be disposed of. Fire Chief Frank Cobb said he doesn’t immediately know any departments that could use the automobile, but he will look into it.
Council also revisited the line-item budget for the city to reimburse the volunteer fire department for fuel use in its vehicles. Cobb did not have an amount for the fuel used in 2022, but officials believed it to be around $8,400. The idea is to have money from the city’s general fund to be moved over into the VFD account.
As a comparison, Councilman Aaron Adams noted that neighboring West Mifflin Borough pays for the fuel in its four volunteer fire departments. He also believes that “as a third-class city,” Duquesne is responsible for the cost.
No ultimate decision was made Tuesday.
Originally published February 10, 2023.