Mechanics asked to make parts list for aging dump truck

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JAY — Selectmen opted Monday to have town mechanics make a parts list and the costs associated with them to fix a 2001, 10-wheel dump truck. The board is trying to determine if the truck should be repaired or if the town should buy a new one at the cost of about $190,000.

Selectmen visited the highway garage and looked over the dump truck, which has plowed snow for 10 years, and a 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck before heading back to the town office to begin the regular meeting.

After looking at the truck and talking to town mechanic Eric Gilbert, Chairman Steve McCourt said he doesn’t think the town should buy a new wheeler. He said if they invested $6,000 to $8,000 into it for repairs, they could get a lot more out of it. He believes there is more life in the truck and with some preventive maintenance and changing the plow route to something less strenuous, the truck could go at least another year, McCourt said.

Selectman Warren Bryant agreed.

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The pickup truck needs to go, McCourt said.

“It is in rough shape,” McCourt said.

He suggested highway foreman John Johnson get quotes for a new pickup.

Selectman Tim DeMillo asked if $6,000 to $8,000 would cover fixing the dump truck.

“It seems to be one thing after another,” Gilbert said. “It’s just worn out.”

The truck spends about 60 percent of its time plowing snow with an 11-foot plow, and a 9- to 10-foot wing, he said.

Johnson said each plow route has its own challenges. The dump truck has broken down many times and plowing snow had to wait, he said.

He estimated it would cost $15,000 or more to fix the problems with it that include a rear housing.

The trucks used to be replaced every seven years, then eight years, then nine years and now it’s 10 or more, he said.

What happens if they put $15,000 to $20,000 in it and it breaks down during the winter? DeMillo asked.

He said he was not sure he could see the benefit of continuing to spend thousands of dollars on and it keeps needing thousands more, he said.

Selectman Tom Goding agreed.

Discussion continued with ideas of possibly downsizing to a Ford 550 and making it into a dump truck.

Selectmen decided to put off making a decision on both vehicles until they find out the cost of repairs on the larger truck. If the decision is to go with two new trucks, selectmen said, they may get a better deal.

In another equipment matter, selectmen voted unanimously to allow the Sewer Department to throw some money at the Highway Department’s broken-down backhoe to get it repaired. The machine is about 16 years old, and the transmission is gone.

Sewer Department Superintendent Mark Holt said he believes he might have some money left over in his budget and could use some from a reserve account to fix the backhoe.

McCourt suggested renting one for the summer work Holt has planned.

However, Holt said that he depends on the backhoe and a member of the highway crew to do emergency repairs as well as planned work.

The highway crew has saved the town a lot of money by working with the Sewer Department to do the work that would otherwise have to be contracted out, Holt said.

If it’s in the best interest of the Sewer Department, Holt said, he could use the money in its accounts to fix the backhoe.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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