DUNKIRK – City officials are hoping that Chautauqua County extends a helping hand from a $6 million grant that was received recently to help pay for new radio equipment.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Public Works Committee in City Hall, Police Chief Dave Ortolano said he was going to meet with county officials and see if they intend to help out with the costs of installing new equipment in the city. Ortolano said that the new radio equipment installation had started and that the city has invested about $74,000 so far.

The county, through the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, received a $6 million grant from the Homeland Security Act to upgrade its radio equipment. The chief said that local municipalities were not included in the grant, but he hoped that the county would help out municipalities because upgrades to the communication system were mandated by federal guidelines.

Ortolano said the city opted to go for a digital system that still uses radio towers. He said the system would still operate if electrical power went out or a satellite went down.

In other police matters, the chief said that patrols in the Town of Dunkirk, which started a few months ago on a part-time basis, were going well and that they are working in partnership with the Village of Fredonia police when needed.

Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino told the committee that road salt use was down this year compared with an average over the last several years, He added, though, that it was not down compared with last winter, which was exceptionally mild.

Gugino said he has $31,868 left in a $90,000 budget for salt use. He said he hopes to have funds left as he closes out the budget for this season.

Gugino said the reduction in salt use was not only attributed to weather conditions but also due to changes made in the three salt-spreading trucks. He said city mechanics changed the salt spreading system and now are able to better control the distribution of road salt using hydraulic conveyors. He said cost of the change was about $4,000 for the three trucks, and he estimated that the long-term savings will be much greater.

Gugino said one of the new spring projects is to prioritize all potholes. He said calls about potholes are welcome to his office so that a list can be compiled and work can start based on priority.

City Councilwoman Stacy Szukala questioned Gugino about the status of the seawall replacement project. He said the project has been on hold until the Council decides to budget for the work.

Gugino reported that the next phase of work on the bike path in the city is expected to start in April and continue for about two months. The city has been implementing a plan for a lakefront bike path in the harbor and Point Gratiot area.