Council OKs lease for city vehicles

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After some debate, with concerns that additional information was not available on the purchase of a new animal control vehicle, the Common Council approved Ordinance 9481 on a Waive Rule 6, authorizing the mayor to execute lease agreements with Enterprise Fleet Management for the leasing of five city vehicles during Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.

During councilor discussions, Third Ward Councilor Kimberly Rogers asked City Treasurer David Nolan who or what departments the vehicles were for in the lease agreement. Nolan said in addition to an animal control vehicle, trucks would be going to the Department of Public Works and Codes Department.

Rogers also expressed concern that this was about the “third time” Enterprise provided a short ordering window for vehicles and asked if that would be “consistent” with the company.

Nolan assured her that it wasn’t Enterprise, but was due to the overall vehicle market and the “lack of chips” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifth Ward Councilor Frank R. Anderson said with the animal control vehicle being “only a couple years old,” he didn’t feel it appropriate to “push through” legislation before the council had time to review the ordinance.

However, Seventh Ward Councilor A. Robert Tracy said he “respectfully disagreed” with Anderson, and felt it would be “prudent for the city” to pass the legislation due to the “exceptional times because of COVID and the effects on supply chains.” Nolan had said there was no guarantee the city could get the five vehicles for next year if they ordered them after the next council meeting scheduled for Oct. 27.

Sixth Ward Councilor Riccardo D. Dursi Jr. said that while some councilors were concerned about approving such purchases before its final vote on the city’s proposed $45.7 million budget, he did reiterate that four of the five vehicles, with the exception of the animal control vehicle, were already discussed during individual department budget hearings.

Asked if the city skipped the purchase of the vehicles for next year how it would affect city vehicle rotation, and Nolan said, “We skipped 2020 because of COVID, and we’re still sort of catching up.”

The council then voted 6-1 on approving the ordinance, with Anderson voting, “No.”

As for other considered legislation, Ordinance 9468A amending the Rome Code of Ordinances Chapter 80 — Zoning Code and Related Maps to include the new Heritage District-Erie Canal Zone on Rome-New London Road, and approving the annual 2022 city budget, remained tabled. And Resolution 69 authorizing an appointment to the Board of Assessment Review was unanimously approved.

In other business:

• The council unanimously accepted a donation of $750 from Joe Fazio Auto Sales to be used by the Parks and Recreation Department toward sponsorship of the 2021 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony fireworks show.

Second Ward Councilor John B. Mortise publicly thanked Fazio for making the annual donation. “Mr. Fazio does this every year and it’s a great donation,” he said.

• The council also unanimously approved a $1,000 donation from John and Lolita Ward to be used toward the purchase of police body cameras.

Councilor Rogers thanked the Wards, and said the body cameras have been a high-priority discussion with the city.

“Every councilor, every police officer and the chief supports body cameras, and they will be a great benefit to the city,” she said.

• Ordinance 9479 authorizing the mayor to approve the sale of a city-owned parcel at 8015 Lauther Road for $3,000 was unanimously approved.

• Ordinance 9480 authorizing the closing of streets for the annual Winter Holiday Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was unanimously approved.

• Ordinance 9477 authorizing a six-month moratorium with respect to the establishment and construction of solar arrays within the city was unanimously approved.

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