By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — One of the oldest trucks in the city’s Public Works fleet is a 1985 Mack 10-wheeler. To keep it in working condition over the last two-plus decades, the cost of replacement parts alone have totaled $80,779.
“I’ve got trucks that are older than some of the drivers,” Methuen DPW Director Raymond DiFiore told city councilors on Monday.
The council responded by unanimously approving a five-year, $469,889 financing plan for six new pickup trucks, a 10-wheeler, two plow rigs, three dump truck bodies and three rider lawnmowers.
“It just becomes cost effective to do it, only because we’re paying so much to repair our vehicles,” said Councilor Ron Marsan.
The vehicles and equipment will be paid for over a five-year period starting in the budget year that begins July 1. DiFiore said the city also purchased several new trucks, a street sweeper and road-side cutter earlier this year using state highway funds.
“I think the department has been brought back to where it should be, equipment wise,” said DiFiore.
Councilors on Monday also approved a $115,000 contract with Instrument Repair Inc., for instrument calibration and maintenance at the water treatment plant. The vehicle and equipment purchase will be made through Suntrust Equipment Finance Leasing Corp.
DiFiore said he expects the new trucks to last at least seven or eight years. He said their introduction into the DPW fleet will allow the city to take 10 vehicles off line. Those vehicles, which were manufactured between 1985 and 1999, will either be auctioned off or transferred to low-demand functions within the department.
“The ones they have are old and constantly being repaired,” said Councilor Lisa Ferry. “It’s costing us more to keep older vehicles and repair them than it is to replace them. We should invest in newer equipment.”