The city is purchasing four pickup trucks equipped with snow plows for its public works department for $128,856, according to city records.
The four 2016 Ford F-350 four-wheel drive pickup trucks equipped with 8′ Western plows are being purchased from Cherry Hill-based Winner Ford, according to the city.
“Our fleet is extremely poor performing. There’s not enough equipment because it’s broken down or not available,” said business administrator Nellie Pou. Some of the public works department equipment are worn out and antiquated, according to officials.
Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, wanted to postpone the purchases. He said the city should consider switching from gasoline vehicles to natural gas. Switching could produce “significant” savings, said Mendez.
“There’s a lot of cities that are changing their vehicles from gasoline to natural gas,” said Mendez. He said the opportunity to switch is when buying new vehicles.
Maritza Davila, councilwoman at-large, chairwoman of the public works committee, was agitated at Mendez’s call to postpone the purchase. She said the councilman should have raised his concerns during the public work committee meetings.
Pou agreed to consider Mendez’s natural gas proposal, but she noted the councilman could have raised the issue months ago. Mendez said he learned many municipalities and companies are realizing savings by switching to natural gas.
The business administrator said both the council and the public have raised issues with old inoperable equipment. She said whenever the administration seeks to take steps to obtain better equipment there’s always different suggestions on the table at the last minute.
“Our entire fleet right now is gassed,” said council president William McKoy pointing to the dire need for snow plowing equipment.
Council members approved the purchase on January 19th, 2016.
“We’re in dire need,” said Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman. “We need the trucks. We need the plows. The equipment we have now is so outdated.”
This report was updated: 2/6/2016 at 2:56 p.m.