The Alpena Municipal Council approved the purchase of a new water and sewer system utility camera with additional equipment for nearly $60,000 during its meeting on Monday. The new remote camera will feature a telescopic camera that will allow the operator to see above standing water, as well as rotate 360 degrees to see in all directions of the city's systems. The new tools will allow the city to better gauge the condition of pipes, as well as locate maintenance issues without having to tear up large section of road.
The council also voted to allow Fire chief Bill Forbush to order a thermal imaging camera for the fire department. The cost of the camera is $9,200, but thanks to a grant and local donations, the city will only have to use general fund money to pay for the high-tech gadget. Forbush told the council that the camera in the department is more than 20 years old and that it does not do many of the things new ones offer. He said the new camera will be able to help locate fires in a more efficient manner.
"The camera will be able to let us see if there is a fire behind walls or in attics or floors," Forbush said. "It will help prevent us from having to tear those types of things apart to check. By finding the fire quicker, it allows firefighters to put it out more quickly."
The City received a grant for $8,550 from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the rest was made available thanks to contributions from Neiman's Family Market and Griffin's Beverage. Forbush said there was also an anonymous donation as well.
In other news:
* the council appointed Mark Straley to the Housing Commission for a five-year term
* the council released the draft of the new comprehensive plan to the public and comment can be made by the public on it for 63 days
* Engineer Rich Sullenger said the needed permits to fix a large portion of road on Ripley Boulevard have been received and he hopes the work on the road, which collapsed this past winter, can begin by the end of the week. He said if all goes as planned, the road and sewer repairs could be complete by the end of next week. Sullenger said rain or other inclement weather could stall the construction.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.