Niles addresses public works equipment

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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NILES — The Niles City Council approved a series of items to address and replace aging public works equipment during Monday’s meeting.

Council approved a motion allowing the department of public works to seek and purchase two used trucks through auction or whatever means necessary. The trucks would be used for winter snow and ice control and various other tasks in the Street Division.

“We need to buy at least two trucks now,” said City Administrator Ric Huff. “We know of one coming up for auction that would fit the bill. It should get us through winter; we’re still looking for another one.”

According to Huff, the city has had five new trucks on order for approximately three years and said that the city may not see the new trucks for another two to three years due to delays. 

“We will not be able to keep up with snow removal as people have become accustomed to in our community as well as salting, leaf collection and multitude of other service things.”

Currently, the city has five trucks in service and five trucks out of service. Huff estimated that used trucks will cost approximately $50,000 apiece.

Councilmember Gretchen Bertschy asked Huff what was causing the delay. Huff said that because heavy duty trucks are going electric, transmission companies are focusing on building as many heavy duty trucks as possible to fill orders ahead of the next regulation announcements.

The trucks ordered by the city are being paid for using American Rescue Plan Act funds, which must be used by Dec. 31, 2026. He added that International is required to deliver the trucks to the city under the agreed upon contract price.

“We may end up in a position with those ARPA funds need to be spent for other general fund expenses and then we set aside general fund dollars for (truck) expenses when those start to deliver,” Huff said.

In related business, council approved two quotes from Truck and Trailer Specialties, Inc. of Dutton, Michigan in the amount of $26,740 and $33,885 to install two new dump bodies on two city trucks and charged the expense to the Public Works budget.

The DPW Street Division has an aging fleet that is relied on to complete day to day tasks. The two trucks – one a 2001 International and the other a 2006 Serling have good frames and chassis however the dump bodies have severe rust and is almost incapable of hauling material throughout the city without losing material through the holes. The dump trucks are used for hauling material for various jobs, during leaf collection in the fall and are two of the main plow trucks for the winter months.

In other business, council:

  • Authorized the renewal of the Michigan Municipal League membership dues, including defense fund dues, at a cost of $7,535 for the period of July 1, 2024 thru June 30, 2025, as allowed for in the 2024 fiscal budget.
  • Authorized a donation in the amount of $2,500 to the Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Open House, with the expense being charged to Council Community Promotions.
  • Awarded the TOT Park contract to Great Lakes Recreation of Holland, Michigan at a cost of $30,000 which will be paid for with CDBG funds. The funds will go toward installing a toddler playground at 10th Street and Pokagon in Niles.
  • Accepted the bid from Hydrolake, Inc. of McBain, Michigan in the amount of $45,290 for the purchase of 124 wood utility poles and will pay for the expense from the Electric Division five-year plan.
  • Approved the Memorandum of Understanding between SWMPC and the City of Niles DART.