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Council Eyes Shared Services Pact

The Jamestown City Council discusses the shared services agreement with the county Sheriff’s Office for fire reporting and management software under the County E911 and emergency management program during its work session meeting Monday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The Jamestown Fire Department will potentially no longer be using paper when it comes to its annual reports.

On Monday, the council discussed entering into a shared services agreement with the county Sheriff’s Office for fire reporting and management software under the County E911 and emergency management program. The new software is needed due to state requirements that all fire departments meet national reporting standards as set forth by the United States Fire Administration. The current software used by the Jamestown Fire Department does not meet the standards.

Earlier this month, Matthew Coon, Jamestown Fire Department deputy fire chief, presented a report to the council on a new software program for the department. He said the department still does their annual reporting on paper. He added that department officials are looking to upgrade to a digital solution.

Coon said they are looking at New World software, which is the same software program the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office uses. Sheriff James Quattrone and Capt. Rich Telford of the Sheriff’s Office also attended the work session meeting earlier this month to answer any questions members of the council had about the software.

Telford said the Sheriff’s Office has been using the software program between 30-35 years and every law enforcement agency in the county, except the state police, uses New World.

Coon said the software is a legacy program and won’t be obsolete in a year or two. He said the fire department’s records would be located at the Sheriff’s Office. He added fire department officials, even though they use the same software program as the Sheriff’s Office, wouldn’t have access to law enforcement records.

The shared services agreement will cost the city $154,675, which will be funded via the contingency account.

In other business:

¯ The council discussed additional materials at the cost of $16,862 needing to be purchased for the new playground to be installed at Lillian Dickson Park. Kimberly Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, said the playground equipment was scheduled to be installed last summer, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed. However, since last year, the cost of installing the equipment has increased.

In May during a Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commission, Dan Stone, city parks manager, said the tentative date for a community playground build at the park will be July 31. He said the new playground will include new swings and will connect to the playground that was constructed in 2014.

The construction of the new playground was delayed last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, John Williams, retired city parks manager, said because of the pandemic it’s not a safe environment for a community playground build, which is when the neighbors who live near the park are invited to participate in building and installing the new equipment.

Williams said the playground installed at the park in 2014 has equipment for children ages 2 to 5 years old. The new playground equipment will be for children ages 5 to 12 years old. He added the new playground will include a rock climbing wall, which will be a new item at a city park.

¯ The council also discussed the grant donation from the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation of $2,500 for the broadband feasibility study, which will be transferred to the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.

Earlier this month, city officials announced a survey that is being used to gauge the interest of community residents in a municipal broadband network. To take the survey, visit jamestownfiber.com.

While the survey is ongoing, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist told The Post-Journal city officials are also working on a feasibility study to determine if the city and Jamestown Board of Public Utilities should create a master plan and task force to analyze the possibility of creating its own broadband network.

Sundquist said a city-owned broadband network could mean potentially faster internet speeds and more access for residents and businesses.

Sundquist said the city’s feasibility study will determine what the broadband network could look like. He said in other cities that have their own municipal-owned broadband network, there is a public and private partnership where the city creates the broadband network, but a private company, like a Spectrum, Windstream or DFT, would provide the internet connection. He added the potential partnership of the public sector in the city and a private business could potentially lower the cost of how much people pay for internet service.

Sundquist said no city in the state of New York currently has it’s own municipally-owned broadband network. He said one city in the country that city officials have been studying is Chattanooga, Tenn. He added after Chattanooga created their own network, economic development increased because businesses, like car manufactures and technology companies, wanted the high-speed connection.

Sundquist said he has no preliminary information about how much it would cost to create a city-owned broadband network. He said the feasibility study will provide an estimate of the costs when it is completed. However, he said city officials would be able to use American Rescue Act stimulus funding, of which the city is scheduled to receive $29.8 million, for broadband internet.

All three of these items discussed by the council are slated to be voted on at its monthly voting session meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

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