Harrison truck fleet at ‘critical level’

Council requests more information before approving lease

Harrison’s aging fleet of work vehicles has “suffered another casualty,” bringing the situation to a critical level, staff reported at Monday’s council meeting.

Over the last year, three of the Village’s vehicles have met their demise, and are now parked for good. Staff requested permission from council to lease two half ton pick up trucks, to be able to provide services to the Village “at a minimal level.”

“The necessity of replacing two of the vehicles is at hand,” a report from Ian Gardner, operations manager read. “We are at the front edge of our busy season and two vehicles are required to fill the immediate need to function at a minimal level of service to the community.”

While Gardner couldn’t be at Monday’s meeting, Ian Crane spoke on his behalf.

Staff has had to use the dump truck to transport staff around since the 1999 Ford Ranger was parked earlier this month, he noted.

But Village workers will be left without wheels for a few more weeks, as council requested more information about the costs of buying those two vehicles versus leasing them.

Coun. John Buckley raised the question of cost, suggesting that buying the vehicles, through a Municipal Finance Authority loan, would cost the municipality less in the long run than leasing them.

Dale Courtice, director of finance, said “there are pros and cons to both” and that some vehicles “you are wiser to lease, and some you can’t lease.”

Coun. Jackson said that the community “is in a habit of buying old, used vehicles and we’ve seen what happens.”

Whether leasing or buying through an MFA loan, the Village would be paying about the same monthly, Crane mentioned. Courtice added that this year’s budget includes a long-term replacement plan to be better prepared for replacements in the future.

“It’s going to be a very tight budget this year,” Mayor Leo Facio said. “The piggy bank has taken a beating, and nobody predicted this (immediate need for two trucks).”

Buckley made an amendment that council receives a price comparison before making a final decision, and it passed with three votes, Buckley, Coun.Zoltan Kiss and Coun. Sonja Reyerse.

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