Mayor asks City Council to approve âcriticalâ transfer
Marlborough – With winter weather officially here, and a long list of Department of Public Works (DPW) equipment in need of repair, Mayor Nancy Stevens has submitted budget transfer requests of $32,000 to the City Council.
Requesting the transfer from several diff erent DPW accounts, the money would be used to replenish the depared partment’s depleted maintenance account used to repair the DPW fleet of vehicles.
Because the finance committee has already reviewed the matter, Stevens asked the committee to approve what she called a critical transfer.
The request was first brought before the Finance Committee at the beginning of December, with the DPW asking for $38,000. Assistant DPW Commissioner Thomas Temple explained that the department needed more funds because it had nearly exhausted the $48,000 allocated to the maintenance line item. Voicing several concerns, the City Council down the transfer by $6,000, to $32,000.
Temple explained to the finance committee that the DPW has a very old fleet which often costs more to repair.
“We have a 1988 Michigan Truck that we can no longer get parts for, so we are having parts machined for it. That costs more,” Temple said.
“Maybe we should take a look at our equipment,” Ward 7 Councilor Donald Landers said. “Are we pumping money into equipment that should be replaced?“
With three vehicles already off the road because they are unsafe, the DPW is currently leasing several vehicles to fill the city’s current equipment needs.
“We have equipment pending repair, other pieces not road worthy, maybe we need to think about a capital budget,” Ward 6 Councilor Edward Clancy said.
As the list of vehicles currently in use, or parked in the garage with extensive needs, continued to grow, Councilors Landers and Clancy questioned how dangerous using some of the vehicles were for the drivers.
“We are dealing with an old fleet that should have been retired,” Ward 4 Councilor Peter Juaire said. “How safe is this?”
Included in the list of DPW expenses are $10,000 to have a street sweeper fixed, $1,100 for state inspection stickers and $1,400 for batteries. With 120 vehicles in the DPW fleet, just the scheduled maintenance, without the cost of repairs, quickly adds up into the thousands of dollars.
Concerned with where the initial $48,000 went, Council President Arthur Vigeant asked Temple during a previous finance committee meeting how often the DPW was price checking purchases. Buying off state contractors, because they come in lowest on items like tires, Temple said he always price checks for big-ticket items.
Submitting alongside the current budget transfer request of $32,000, the Mayor also submitted on behalf of the DPW a detailed list of what the initial $48,000 budget was spent on.
Despite his belief that the Department needs to evaluate putting money into outdated equipment, Landers said he was concerned with the impact that delaying the transfer would have with the winter-parking ban and inclement weather already here.
“Winter is a critical time,” Landers said. “Waits can be dangerous.”
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