JAY — Selectpersons agreed Monday to spend up to $214,000 from the Public Works Department’s capital reserve account to replace two trucks that continue to break down and cost the town money to repair.

It was approved 3-2, with Board of Selectpersons Chairman Steve McCourt and Board of Selectpersons Vice Chairman Justin Merrill opposed. Selectpersons Pearl Cook, Tim DeMillo and Tom Goding were in favor.

There is $272,750 in the capital reserve account, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said.

The board voted not to replace the larger plow truck last year because of the pending revaluation of Verso Paper Corp.’s paper mill at that time. Town officials either cut or eliminated money for capital reserve accounts in the current budget.

Both trucks, a 2003 International wheeler plow truck and a Ford F550 plow truck, are in bad shape, Public Works Foreman John Johnson said.

Western Star Trucks quoted a new wheeler plow truck at $135,000 after a $34,000 trade-in value, with the Public Works crew doing the work to put the truck together, he said. That figure includes plowing equipment.


The 2003 truck broke down Friday and was brought to O’Connor Motors for an engine evaluation after the truck started skipping during a snowstorm, he said. 

The truck, which has 179,901 miles and 10,970 hours on it, has plowed for 13 winters. 

The department has spent $11,200 in parts and in excess of 130 man hours since April 14, 2014, according to Johnson’s information.

On top of that, if an injector is gone in the existing truck, it would cost about $3,000 to repair, including the towing expense, he said.

A new truck would cost $69,000, not factoring in associated expenses, along with $60,000 for the body package.

The truck has needed repairs during most events this winter, slowing service. It failed to run during the ice storm on Jan. 18, causing the police and fire departments to close Route 133 after dozens of cars went off the road, Johnson stated in his board information.


“We are currently, due to constant breakdowns providing much slower service endangering the motoring public, using many more overtime hours and spending twice as much money to do it,” Johnson said.

The 2006 F550 plow truck was put into service in 2005. The truck has 67,937 miles and 5,840 hours on it.

The dump body and sander are rotted to the point that attempting to repair them does not makes financial sense, according to Johnson’s data. The frame has been welded numerous times and the truck suffers constant engine trouble, among other issues, he said.

The truck can be replaced now for $79,000, not factoring in any trade value, he said.

“If we are to do the job … we have to have something dependable,” Goding said.

In his business, sometimes you have to spend money to make money instead of dropping more money into it, he said.


Cook agreed.

In another discussion on a capital reserve purchase, the board gave consensus to police Chief Richard Caton IV to get quotes on a new Ford Interceptor sport utility-style cruiser.

That purchase was also cut last year.

The plan would be to trade in the 2012 Ford Expedition that has 142,000 miles on it, Caton said.

The department has had the vehicle for three years and it spent one year on the front line. A front-line cruiser runs 24 hours a day, he said.

He has a ballpark figure that a new Interceptor would cost $29,000, not including trade-in. There is about $25,000 in the reserve account.

The department has four cruisers.

“With not buying one last year, it put more miles on the existing cruisers,” he said.


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