Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Common Council approved the city police department’s efforts to acquire military equipment among a surplus of items left from the nation’s involvement in two longstanding wars.
The request could bring guns, ammunition and vehicles to the city under a federal program started to bolster the wares of law enforcement agencies across the country.
The Federal Excess Property Program, which is overseen by the state, would allow the department to receive equipment through the U.S. Department of Defense that is situated at New York’s Fort Drum, with a specific focus on counter-drug tactics.
“It’s equipment the department could probably never afford,” said Mayor Rob Ortt, who added that other than transferring any potential equipment to city police, involvement in the program is free of charge.
The public meeting held on Tuesday was also Council President Rich Andres’ last appearance as head of the governmental body, following his election to the Niagara County Legislature, a role that will begin in the New Year.
Andres, who represents the Second Ward, served two terms on the council and the last two years as its president.
The city also announced the winners of the 2013 Christmas lighting contest, judged by Ortt:
• Overall Holiday: Elizabeth Livesay, 196 Bryant St.
• Most Original: Michael Labenski, 274 Old Falls Blvd.
• Decorated Lawn: The Smolka Family, 683 Shad St.
• Clark Griswold Award: Corky and Ray Klimek, 1256 Pierce Ave.
• Decorated Business: Jim Pane
• Mayor’s Award: Brenda and James Schaffer, 559 Wurlitzer Drive.