MANCHESTER - Public safety was the topic of the hour Tuesday. when the town's select board executed a new lease with the Manchester Rescue Squad.

The board members also voted unanimously to purchase an additional dispatch unit for handling emergency calls.

Ivan Beattie, chairman of the select board, said that the town voted to purchase an ambulance and approved a budget of up to $150,000 at Town Meeting. The actual cost of the vehicle ended up coming in around $143,000, he said.

"The town piece of that after three years would be $60,000, $20,000 a year for three years," Beattie said. "The balance of the $143,000 would be paid by other towns through the rescue squad. So all but $60,000 will be reimbursed."

The select board authorized Town Manager John O'Keefe to sign the lease agreement.

This spring, the town received a grant fro the Department of Homeland Security for the purchase of a new dispatch system. The grant totaled $88,898 to cover a new dispatch console. What the grant does not cover, O'Keefe said, is installation and training, as well as spare parts, an essential piece of equipment for the console. Those will cost roughly $24,000.

"The fire department has agreed to pay for the installation and training out of their equipment reserve fund," O'Keefe said. "Along with the general fund money, for so-called spare parts the state will not pay for which are really critical pieces."

When the grant was originally applied for, a back up console was also included. Both Police Chief Mike Hall and Fire Chief Philip "Grub" Bourn expressed interest in purchasing a portable second console.

The second, movable console, which could be used anywhere that has an Internet connection, would cost $14,625, with a small additional cost of a docking station. As a part of program which allows for prior inspection before purchase, O'Keefe said, the town would be eligible for a $5,700 discount by allowing interested parties to come and see this system in action.

Bourn informed O'Keefe the fire department would be willing to fund the purchase of the second console. The select board decided that because of the discount, it would be wise to authorize the purchase of the second console. The town, pending approval at Town Meeting, will pay the fire department back for part of the purchase.

In other news, Skip King, a Manchester resident, had brought up American Disability Act compliance issues to the board at a previous meeting, regarding signage and slope of the new sidewalk in front of the Marble Mill, where the Sirloin Saloon used to be located. The town looked into what he brought up and found that the sidewalk has correct slope. However, King insisted the cross slope is larger than the two percent grade allowed by the American Disability Act.

"The cross slope of any sidewalk or even the landing part of it can't be two percent," King said. "People who have wheelchairs, crutches and canes, and try to go down there, that doesn't work for ADA...I don't think that cross slope if measured is two percent."

While expressing sympathy with King's concerns, the board noted the sidewalk is privately owned with a town easement. It is not under their jurisdiction and according to town's engineer was ADA compliant.