By Kara Herlihy
At a public forum Monday evening, November 29, town officials in Moretown heard a request from Road Commissioner Rae Washburn to purchase a new tandem dump truck for the highway department. Washburn told the members of the Moretown Select Board that the estimated cost of the new truck is $179,000.
According to Washburn, the town could pay $60,000 per year without interest; the difference in cost between a single-axle and a tandem is minor, approximately $12,000.
THE TRUCK WE WANT
"I think it's very clear, this is the truck we want," he said.
Select board chair John Hoogenboom asked Road Foreman Stuart Grandfield to estimate the resale value of the tandem versus a single-axle truck.
Grandfield said, "It all depends on the shape of the truck after 10 years. There is more use for the tandem afterwards."
"The other thing is, with the single-axle, when we pull out with sand, the plow and wing, we're overweight, way overweight," he continued.
NOT BEEN A GOOD TRUCK
The new truck would replace the 2001 single-axle truck currently used to spread chloride and as a "backup vehicle," Washburn said. If the truck is not approved, Washburn said the maintenance costs on the current vehicle "will skyrocket."
"Our 2004 is already 6 years old. If we don't get a truck now, we're looking at the drive train, the brakes, the engine," Washburn said.
In addition, he said, "The 2007 has not been a good truck; we've had chronic electrical problems that have been taken care of under warranty."
TOWED AWAY BY WRECKER
Grandfield said that since he was hired, the 2007 has been towed away on a wrecker twice, twice during plowing. When asked about reimbursement for time lost on the road, Grandfield said there is no credit on the warranty for lost man hours due to broken trucks.
Washburn said that if the town does approve the purchase of a new dump truck, the three tandems would be used to haul sand in the summer, then use the newest two for winter road maintenance.
"We've talked about this in the capital budget. I think there's a lot of support for the capital budget. It's been on the table. I think we should order this truck right after the first of the year," Washburn added.
A LOT OF SUPPORT
"I think people recognize that we need a new town truck," he continued.
Washburn said they would try to get more than one bid on the truck as well as purchase the truck in-state so as to avoid traveling to have it serviced.
Grandfield said his goal is to "keep the 2001 and run it into the ground. Once it cannot be inspected, get salvage out of it, keep the tandems in rotation, trade them in to get the good value. When we need another single-axle for chloride you can buy one at auction."
Moretown Planning Commission member Jonathan Siegel said, "Now this is going to raise the budget unless you cut out $60,000 worth of stuff; it's just about getting the approval and keeping a third of the truck in the budget."
GETTING IT ON A TRAIN
Moretown Town Treasurer Amy Deutl asked about the status of the already approved one-ton pickup truck. She said she had spoken with a salesperson at Cody Chevrolet who said the new truck may not be ready until January.
Grandfield said, "They're telling you different things than they're telling me. They told me it's just a matter of getting it on a train."
In the meantime, Hoogenboom said, maintenance of the roads not covered by the new truck will be subbed out until the truck arrives.
"The only, perhaps, issue is with that, is we're subbing it out, but we're not going through the same process as we usually do."
Select board member Reed Karrow said, "In good faith, we thought we'd have a truck. I think people will understand."