This is a summary of some of the topics discussed at the committee on public safety.
Cab license appeal hearing
Mr Miller, owner of the company Cosmic Cab, was denied a permit to operate his taxi in the city of Northampton by the Northampton police department, which is the permitting authority. If the applicant wishes to appeal, the appeal is heard by the public safety committee. This was the primary reason to schedule the special meeting. Mr Miller had some recent difficulties with the law but had cleared them up after admitting to a disorderly conduct charge. The committee heard the case as quickly as it could once those matters had been concluded. The motion to overturn the police department’s denial of Mr Miller’s permit failed 2-2. I voted “aye” to overturn. I believe Mr Miller has a troubled and checkered past but was trying to get his life on track and had a satisfactory record as a taxi driver.
Police Dept Update
Chief Sienkiewicz provided an update to the committee about the new police station. The top floor is close to being completed, and the move-in date could possibly be the second week in May. The electrical, heat, and other utilities will be run for two weeks while the building is empty to make sure everything works.
May 1 is when furniture is scheduled for delivery. The budget for new furniture was ~$300,000, but it was becoming clear that this would not be enough for all the new furniture the department wanted. The Chief did some research and got the city to join the National Joint Procurement Association, which split their new furniture virtually in half, to ~$160,000. This allowed the department to spend the additional budgeted ~$140,000 on specialty equipment.
The firing range still looks like a difficult purchase, since it may be over $300,000, which is more than is in the contingency fund (~$250,000) or other places already budgeted. To make the basement space useful at all was going to cost ~$28,000 for ventilation. However, the roof-top unit that would allow for the firing range was going to cost ~$75,000. Instead of just buying the $28,000 system, the administration purchased the roof-top ventilation system (allowing for the possibility of a firing range), even though it was more expensive. The reasoning here was that if the money for the firing range ever becomes available, the ventilation system would already be present.