By GERARD NOLAN
Even if the lights go out and there’s a fuel shortage, Tuckahoe’s Department of Public Works building will remain operational thanks to the purchase of a new power generator with funds from the state.
With a grant secured by state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat, the village purchased the generator, which cost nearly $100,000 and has an output of 125 kilowatts. Paulin secured the grant from a capital projects grant program, which sets aside money annually in the state budget to help fund local municipality projects.
The assemblywoman said the generator will become especially important during the harsh winter, as well the summer months, when mother nature’s fury can wreak havoc on the power grid. She cited recent electrical problems stemming from last month’s heat wave as an example of the problems weather can pose to the smooth operations of a municipality.
“Having this generator available, should power concerns arise again will allow the DPW to continue working without interruption,” she said.
Originally earmarked for the village’s community center, the machine was installed at the DPW site, located at 15 Marbledale Road, because its generator recently failed and could not be repaired. That generator had just been moved from another village building, according to Mayor Steve Ecklond, a Republican.
“Shortly after we put [the old diesel generator] in place, it imploded on us,” Ecklond said.
Ecklond said keeping the DPW up and running was the more critical need, so the village changed its plans.
“We decided that it’s at the DPW complex because we need power there at all time,” Ecklond said.
Frank DiMarco, the DPW’s superintendent, said that that the DPW is among the first responders to a disaster. “It’s very important that we be able to access our computers and our phones,” DiMarco said.
The new generator would power the building and the fuel pumps that supply the department’s vehicles and emergency vehicles, which are vital during severe weather events, should the village experience a power outage.
The new generator will power both buildings at the DPW complex and runs on biodiesel with a capacity for 250 gallons of the fuel, which would fuel the generator for days.
DiMarco added that he hopes to soon convert the machine to natural gas, which burns cleaner and could power the generator for a longer time than diesel.
As for the initial plan to add a back-up generator to the Community Center, Ecklond said the village will decide on that during the fall, when he and other officials will “take a very comprehensive look at the center and its operations.”
Village Trustee Janette Hayes, a Republican, expressed gratitude for Paulin’s efforts
“Assemblywoman Paulin does her best to help us secure money that’s not coming out of taxpayers’ pockets,” Hayes said. “She’s very supportive of the village. She always has been.”