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Town to replace radios, tax processing machines

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14,

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14, 2011, at 200 East Sunrise Hwy. in Lindenhurst. Credit: Carl Corry

Babylon Town plans to spend up to $500,000 to replace a radio system used by the Department of Public Works that officials say nearly failed during superstorm Sandy.

Tom Martin, the town's director of fleet services, said the system -- which is used to communicate with DPW trucks, workers in the field and public safety personnel -- went into "failsoft" during the storm, a condition that allowed for only limited capabilities.

Parts for the system, which officials said was at least 25 years old when it was donated to the town 15 years ago, are so hard to come by that DPW chief Tom Stay said his employees were scared to attempt repairs. "If something goes wrong, there's no fixing it," he said. "This really could have blown up in our faces."

The town will bond for the purchase. Stay said he hoped the new equipment would be in use by summer.

A $300,000 bond also approved at the March 5 meeting will pay for replacement of seven machines that Receiver of Taxes Corinne DiSomma uses to process payments for the town's 60,000 tax parcels.

"There's no parts available anymore" for the 10-year-old machines, she said, and the volume of work in her office hasn't slowed.

The board also imposed a one-year moratorium on the licenses required to place clothing collection bins in town. Language attached to the resolution described the bins as eyesores and magnets for debris.

Some bins are run by charitable organizations or for their benefit, but not all. A 1998 Newsday story described an industry for donated American clothes worth hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, with for-profit companies reaping the benefits.

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