Vatter: City-run ambulance won’t work
Fire Chief Michael Vatter gave the Newburgh City Council another dose of bad news this past Thursday, telling them that “a 12 percent reduction in Fire Department staffing make it impossible to staff ambulances with Fire Department personnel.”
Vatter and Lt. Bill Horton had made a presentation to the City Council in May, predicting that they could bring the city more than $130,000 in profits by going into the ambulance service in 2011.
Thursday, Vatter said that wasn’t possible, especially in light of likely layoffs in the department in the future.
“It doesn’t look anywhere near as realistic as it did in May,” Vatter said.
He said that the department will still help out on the 7,000 inspections for code violations that the city faces each year.
Vacant buildings continue to be a problem for the city, Chief Vatter said. He suggested that the city institute a plan where it goes in, cleans up the property and bills the property owners for the work.
Corporation Counsel Bernis Nelson suggested that this could be dealt with as a Connect Fund issue, adding that the city will need to approach HUD to see if this is a worthwhile use of HUD funds.
“We’ve beefed up every code that has that kind of language,” Nelson told the City Council.
Councilman Curlie Dillard, following a favorite theme, asked:
“Why not hire local residents to do the cleanups?”
Mayor Nicholas Valentine said that the city “can send a message that you aren’t going to get away with it. You don’t have to do it with every property. They’ll get the message: ‘You’re going to have to pay us back,’”
Marge Bell asked if the city can use HUD money for demolition as well as cleanup. The answer from Nelson was “yes.”
On another matter, the council was informed that the City has just acquired another 50 properties through in-rem procedures.
Planning Director Ed Lynch told the council that the city has acquired properties in a number of ways, some that are contributing to blight in the city.
The council was given an extensive list of properties that are either scheduled for demolition or for auction.
Listed for demolition are:
9 Carson St., 96 Carter St., 22 City Terrace. 10 Dubois St., 49 Dubois St.,251-253 First St., 159 Grand St., 142 N. Miller St., 191 South St., 10 Van Ness St., 12 Van Ness St., 113 Washington St. and 274 Washington St.
The city has $70,000 that can be used toward various demolitions, the council was told.
Listed for auction are:
63 Beacon St., 408 and 440 Carpenter Ave., 87 Carson St., 34 Carter St., 37 City Terrace, 48 City Terrace, 206 City Terrace, 64 Clinton St., 15 Ellis Ave.,14 Elm St., 387 First St., 16 Hudson View Terrace, 21 Leroy Place, 29 Maple St., 3 Marme Ave., 47 Overlook, 26 Pine St., 322 Robinson Ave., 162 South St., 791 South St., 241 Washington St. and 248 Washington St.
During Monday’s council meeting, council member Marge Bell suggested requiring the next city manager to live within the city limits. One possibility, she said, would be to pull one of the best in-rem properties and fix it up for the city manager. Rather than delay action on the auction list, the council will consider her suggestion before the auction properties are handed over to the auction company for sale.
By ALLAN GAUL