Woodland considers purchase of plow truck

6 years ago

WOODLAND, Maine — Woodland selectmen voted Thursday night to hold a special town meeting to trade in their current 2009 plow truck, which town officials say is experiencing a variety of issues, for a 2004 truck with better mileage, a better engine, and better safety specs.

A time and date were not finalized, however, and on Nov. 19, town officials indicated the special meeting was on hold for the moment. A special Board of Selectmen meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, but it is unclear if a new date will be set for the special town meeting at that time. The only unique item on the agenda, aside from “public comment” and “other,” is a discussion related to the Woodland Highway Department.

Selectmen Will Barnum brought the plow truck issue to the board on Nov. 15 and said their 2009 vehicle is in “bad shape,” with rot starting to show on the frame, a drastically underpowered motor, and poor mileage.

“There are other issues,” he said, “and it gets, at best, two and a half miles to the gallon.”

Woodland is currently using the 2004 truck they wish to purchase, as it was loaned to the town by Freightliner Maine. The company has since offered $17,500 for the town’s 2009 truck to go toward the purchase price of the older, but higher quality truck, which the dealer is offering to sell for $52,500.

If the town agrees to authorize the purchase during the Nov. 26 meeting, it would cost $35,000 with the trade-in.

Public Works Director Chris Fournier highly recommended purchasing the ‘04 plow truck, as it has numerous advantages over the vehicle currently owned by the town.

“By having the truck here,” he said. “I guess I learned how a truck should be spec’d. It has remote handles like a farm tractor; everything’s right there so you don’t have to keep climbing out. It’s well equipped. The bed chain is smaller and easy to repair.”

He said the ‘04 is configured so a highway worker could “haul dirt in the morning and be sanding roads that afternoon.”

“It takes 15 minutes to go from a dump truck to a sander,” he said.

The ‘04 vehicle also gets between 4.6 and 5.1 miles per gallon, making it about twice as fuel efficient as the ‘09 vehicle. Fournier said this advantage alone would save the town a significant amount of money in the future.