Presentations at Clarkstown Town Board Workshop

BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL

At the town board workshop meeting for Clarkstown on September 24 there were two presentations made to the board and the public. The first was by Daniel Duthie, Esq. about the Clarkstown Lighting District. The second was by Dennis Malone about the garage consolidation.

Supervisor Alexander Gromack explained that the town is considering taking over street lighting from Orange and Rockland. Duthie said that town would take ownership to maintain street lighting. They have a third party provider for the electricity. Orange and Rockland wants to charge one million dollars to allow the takeover, which is way more than the town believes is fair. The price would include the cost of the lamp, the deprecation, and deduct the fee to dispose of the hazardous mercury bulb.

They are considering using LED lights that would have an average of eight to 12-year lifespan. If all works out and the town is able to take over the ownership of the streetlights, Duthie estimates a savings of about $500,000 in the first year, and $750,000 each year after.

“A year ago, in September, we moved to a consolidation over the garages. It was believed at that time a great deal of savings would occur,” said Gromack.

Malone, the fleet manager for the garages, put together a packet of papers showing where the money was saved. It was available for anyone to take.

“I said I would merge the garages and make a team. Today, we have a unified force of 12 that work together, learn from each other, and get the work done,” said Malone.

According to Malone’s report, there was an average of $702,000 spent per year from 2008 through 2012 for operating expenses which include parts and outside labor. This year, as of August 31st, Malone has spent $261,303 with a projected full year estimate of $391,953. He boasts a savings of $310,000 in operating expenses, a savings of $645,000 in capital expenses, and a savings of $100,000 in the retiring without rehiring of a mechanic. The total estimated savings for 2013 is 1,055,000 according to Malone’s report.

“I decided to research because that’s what I do with every part. I found parts cheaper at other vendors. I take pride researching ever part I order in every garage. I think going through things by hand is what makes things work,” said Malone.

Superintendent of Highway, Wayne Ballard, was also present at the meeting. He pointed out many different items that weren’t purchased yet this year that would need to be purchased.

“I agree that there are some savings, but I don’t believe the numbers are correct,” said Ballard. “There are good years and bad years. For what we don’t buy this year, we need to buy next year.”

Malone also recommended an undercarriage wash station for the town trucks after plowing to wash off the salt. He said that the bottoms of many town vehicles are rotting from the salt and need expensive repairs to fix the damage. This could all be avoided with a good wash system to take the salt off. He said he’s found an excellent system that would cost $43,000 and would save significant money annually. Gromack said the town is applying for a state grant to fund this for which the deadline is November 9th.

“You need to think about what comes off the truck. The salt-oil mixture that runs off,” said Ballard. “The true cost would be $70,000. A good manager would look at the whole system. Right now I spend about $4,000 a year to empty the oil-water separator.”

He said that Malone would have to consider where the machine was setup to figure out how the runoff would be handled. The sewer department doesn’t want the salt going into the system.

“You have to think things out,” said Ballard.

Malone said that the salt mixture is treated to be neutralized and then pumped directly into the sewer system in another town he studied.

“The bottom line is, Wayne, that it is working,” said Malone.

After a bunch of back and forth between Wayne and Malone, Gromack cut them off numerous times.

“I think cooperation is what we need. All I’m meeting with is resistance,” said Malone.

“This is an ongoing process,” said Gromack. “We said this would be a work in progress, a great undertaking. We’re certainly hopeful this will grow in a few budget cycles to see.”

“A year ago this board voted to do this and apparently it has worked,” said Councilman Frank Borelli.

Steven Levine from Congers asked about the stuff that comes off the wash and if it is hazardous. He said more research needs to be done about that. He’s also worried the town isn’t investing in the future with town vehicles. Tom Nimick of New City asked about the part for the Menzi Muck that was now $3,000 less than it was in the past. Michael Hull continued with the topic asking about he ex-Clarkstown employee that runs the shop that has been charging the town the $3,000 above manufacturers cost. Ballard said that the shop owner was an employee of Clarkstown about eight years ago and that with that $3,000 savings, the town could now fix the Menzi Muck as he has been requesting.

Gromack closed the meeting after questions were answered, reminding all that this was a workshop meeting, now a political debate.