Herald Staff Writer
Several members of Chapter 699 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart attended the Norton City Council meeting Nov. 12 for a ceremony to make Norton a Purple Heart City.
Mayor Mike Zita read a proclamation expressing gratitude to America’s veterans and declaring Norton as a Purple Heart City. City administration has designated a parking space at city hall as reserved for veterans who have received the Purple Heart, which is presented to military service members killed or wounded in combat.
After the proclamation, Zita accepted a plaque from Chapter 699, and a purple flag featuring a picture of the Purple Heart and “Honoring America’s Combat Wounded Veterans.”
After the ceremony, council members examined the 2019 budget for the city with input from Police Chief John Dalessandro, Fire Chief Mike Schultz and Superintendent of Public Service Larry Hess.
Dalessandro said Norton has 21 police officers on the force, 16 full-time and five part-time. He said there are never fewer than three officers on the road at any one time, and the department has budgeted for two new cruisers next year.
Schultz said there are 30 Norton firefighters now, and he expects to hire two more within the next two weeks. The fire department is set very well as far as vehicles, Schultz said. A new squad was purchased in 2016 and another had a new chassis installed this year. Another vehicle is in the process of getting a new chassis now.
The fire department is currently in the third year of a three-year turnout gear replacement cycle. Schultz will soon submit a grant request for improved air packs with face pieces that are custom-fitted and tested to ensure an improved seal against inhalation of smoke and carcinogens while fighting a fire.
Council will continue the budget examination in coming meetings. Council President Scott Pelot will break down areas yet to be discussed into blocks and will email members so they can examine them on their own ahead of the next meetings.
Norton Mayor Mike Zita, third from right) accepts a plaque and a flag on behalf of the city, from members of Military Order of the Purple Heart after declaring Norton a Purple Heart City.
Members of Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 699 listen as Norton Mayor Mike Zita reads a proclamation of gratitude to veterans and declaring Norton a Purple Heart City.