Emergency manager seeks Suburban through legacy grant

Chronicle file photo of the Emergency Manager's 2014 Chevy Tahoe.
Chronicle file photo of the Emergency Manager's 2014 Chevy Tahoe.

CHEEKTOWAGA – The Cheektowaga Town Board gave the green light to Emergency Manager Earl Loder to seek out the best price for a new Chevrolet Suburban for his use in responding to emergency incidents.

The Town Board passed a resolution at their September 12th meeting authorizing an end-of-lease purchase clause for a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe.  The vehicle is currently used by Mr. Loder to respond and attend to emergency incidents like structure fires, spills, airport alerts, and natural disasters.  The town is going to purchase the vehicle for $1.00 under that clause after making lease payments for the past four years.

Mr. Loder asked the town board for permission to lease a new Chevrolet Suburban during the board’s work session Tuesday night.  In addition to all of the emergency items that he carries, the larger vehicle would also allow him to transport absorbent materials and mats for fuel and chemical spills which are not on his Tahoe due to space constraints.

“Right now everything is on the hazardous materials trailer, and by the time I get back here and get that stuff and take it to the scene, it’s already down the sewer, and that’s not good,” Mr. Loder told the board.

Historically, the vehicle used by the emergency manager is transferred to the police department after the lease is bought out.  A new vehicle is leased for his use under a state local emergency planning grant program dating back to 1984.  It pays for half of everything the emergency manager submits to prepare the town for emergency incidents – including a $70,000 Chevrolet Suburban.  Mr. Loder told councilmembers that the town could lose out in future funding for a vehicle if the town does not include one this year.

“If we lose it, then we’re never getting it back.  It’s a great deal for the town to get a vehicle for that price and then be able to buy it for a dollar,” said Mr. Loder.

“So it would be $35,000,” said Councilmember Timothy Meyers.  “Then after that, we buy it for a dollar.”

Supervisor Diane Benczkowski agreed.  “I think that’s a great program and we don’t want to lose it because it reimburses us 50% – that’s huge.”

The Town of Cheektowaga remains the only municipality in Erie County to benefit from this grant Mr. Loder said.

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