RTM Republicans support vehicle replacement program for DPW

Plows take to the streets of Fairfield earlier this winter. (John Kovach Photo)

Plows take to the streets of Fairfield earlier this winter. (John Kovach Photo)

The RTM Republican leadership submitted a letter to the Fairfield Sun approving heavy-duty vehicles for the town’s Department of Public Works.

To the Editor:

The Republican RTM caucus unanimously approved a significant replenishment to the Department of Public Works (DPW) heavy-duty vehicle fleet through a long-term capital bond resolution totaling nearly $2.1 million at its Feb. 24 meeting. This bond resolution also provided for a new ladder fire truck.

Roughly, $1.33 million of this bond resolution was for the DPW vehicles and $775k was for the new fire truck. With this approval, DPW will significantly upgrade its aging and overworked fleet of heavy-duty trucks.

Given the extreme weather Fairfield has experienced over recent years, coupled with attractive interest rate levels, which many believe are only going to rise over the coming months, now is the right time to make this type of investment.

The fleet upgrade includes two six-wheel dump trucks, one 10-wheel dump truck, one asphalt truck, a back hoe, a tree bucket truck and a refuse/recycling truck. The estimated overall replacement value of the DPW’s 52 heavy-duty vehicle fleet is $10 million.

Commenting on the fleet modernization program, Majority Leader Ed Bateson said, “This $1.33 million acquisition of capital assets will serve to bring DPW’s heavy-duty fleet up to date, position the town for improved road maintenance and increased functional capacity.”

Bateson continued, “Given the age of DPW’s fleet, this appropriation was a prudent investment for us to make at this juncture. We do, however, remain concerned that the RTM has not been presented with a strategic plan for fleet replenishment from the administration, nor have they shared with us how such a program might be funded. Moreover, it is important to note that just a few short years ago there was wide agreement among town bodies that operating expenses such as asphalt paving should not be funded through bond resolutions, but instead be included in regular yearly budgets.”

Bateson concluded, “While decision making in the absence of a long-term plan is less than ideal, the Republican RTM caucus was compelled to address the immediate needs of DPW in order to maintain service levels the taxpayer expects and to provide for a safer work environment for those Town employees who operate this machinery.”

“RTM Republicans wish to recognize the hard work and enterprising efforts of our DPW crews to extend the life of our existing fleet,” said Tom McCarthy, chairman, Public Works and Planning. “The department has gone above and beyond to demonstrate the need for this fleet modernization and we express our complete confidence in its ability to safely and efficiently serve the public with these new vehicles.”

 

Ed Bateson, Majority Leader

Michael Herley, Deputy Majority Leader

Peter Ambrose, Finance Chairman

Jeff Steele, Legislation & Administration Chairman

Carol Way, Educations & Recreation Chairman

Tom McCarthy, Public Works & Planning Chairman

Joe DeMartino, Public Health & Safety Chairman

Pamela Iacono, SLMC Secretary

Mary McCullough, R-3

Hank Ference, R-3

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