Fine buys city equipment

Published 11:31 pm Friday, September 23, 2011

The city will purchase nearly $35,000 worth of equipment for the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue with a “donation” from John C. Holland Enterprises, according to a letter from City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn.

Holland, a landfill owner, is making the donation to comply with a consent order from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. He was ordered to pay a fine after a portion of the sidewall at his landfill collapsed during a storm two years ago.

He came to a City Council meeting in May to offer the fine to the city, which is allowable as long as the DEQ agrees to the planned use. Holland said he would rather give the money to his city than to the DEQ.

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His loss is the city’s gain. The state environmental department approved a laundry list of equipment proposed by the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue. The department would use the equipment to stock its mass casualty bus and to buy supplies and equipment for responding to environmental incidents.

On the list are inflatable boats, drain covers, absorbent pads, oil-drying material, gas monitors and outdoor surveillance cameras for environmental monitoring.

The equipment for the mass casualty bus would include dozens of first aid items, a $180 Garmin GPS receiver, area maps, safety vests and collapsible road cones.

Also vying for part of the money was the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, which sent a letter in July to ask for $10,000.

It would have used the money for its oyster restoration and water quality monitoring programs, according to a letter from executive director Elizabeth Taraski.

However, according to Cuffee-Glenn’s letter, the DEQ said the equipment for the fire department was “more in line and more consistent with DEQ’s policy as it relates to the consent order.”