Like all towns, Point Pleasant makes a significant investment in vehicles for various tasks, from construction and zoning enforcement departments to the police force.
In an effort to get as much as possible out of its investments, the borough’s Department of Public Works is hoping to build a structure to shelter its vehicles. That structure – estimated at $195,000 – was just one of the items to receive initial approval from the Borough Council during its two budget workshop meetings last week.
Last Tuesday, the Council reviewed capital budget requests from every department – requests that had been revised from earlier workshop reviews – totaling just over $2.23 million.
Nearly a third of that amount -- $726,000 – is designated to replace a 25-year-old rescue truck for the fire department.
The public works department had the second-highest total amount overall, with requests totaling $822,750, including a new dump truck and a new forklift, to replace ones that no longer work properly or meet current safety requirements.
The building to house that equipment, however, was one of the most important requests.
“Living here at the Shore, we all know what the salt air can do to our vehicles,” said Robert Forsyth, superintendent of public works. “We (Point Borough) have a significant investiment in our vehicles. Vehicles that are kept inside look almost new. We want to keep ours inside and extend their life.”
The building proposal Forsyth put forth last Tuesday was significantly scaled back from the original request, Council member Christopher Leitner noted. The initial proposal was for a building at the town’s recycling center that would have been able to house every vehicle for the public works department, but that larger facility was estimated to cost about $700,000.
“We looked at our needs, at what needs to be stored,” Forsyth said, and reduced the size of the building to 50 feet by 70 feet, a size that will allow the department to store three trucks plus smaller vehicles and equipment, while cutting nearly $500,000 off the cost of the project.
The proposed building would be a pole barn – poles at 8-foot intervals, with steel siding and a concrete floor -- that will help keep moisture off the vehicles. Forsyth noted the proposed building would sit perpendicular to Clifton Avenue, so residents would only see the end of the building.
Vehicles that hold up in the Shore environment would still be kept outside, primarily a couple of trucks that are used every day, he said.
Other capital requests that received initial approval from the council included:
-- $19,000 for computers and desks for the construction department. The current computers no longer work properly, and inspectors are often forced to go to other departments because there aren’t enough computers for all of them to work in the office at the same time.
-- A new telephone system for the town at a cost yet to be determined. Borough Clerk David Maffei said the current system was installed 20 years ago and is unable to handle the borough’s needs and is obsolete.
“I would love to be able to change the (outgoing) message for holidays, and I can’t even do that,” Maffei said.
Council members agreed the system was a problem, with Robert Sabosik noting phone messages are handwritten because there’s no other way for residents to leave a message.
-- The council turned down requests for vehicles from the recreation department and the assessor’s office, while reducing the construction department’s request to two vehicles from three. The rejection of the vehicle request for the recreation department triggered no votes from Leitner and Councilmember Christopher Goss on the recreation department’s capital budget.
Karen Haycook, superintendent of recreation, is forced to use her personal vehicle when transporting items for various borough events and recreation programs.
Sabosik recommended the borough instead transfer one of the vehicles the police department is taking out of service to the recreation department for Haycook to use.
But Leitner raised concerns about the reliability of those vehicles, which are used heavily by the police department.
“I think their needs deserve as much consideration as anyone else,” Leitner said, in urging the approval of the vehicle for Haycook.
Thursday’s workshop meeting was adjourned to executive session after a 20-minute public session, with the council, discussing budget matters relating to personnel and contract negotiations. Maffei said the council would likely need two more workshop sessions before introducing the budget, and he did not expect those to be set until later this month or possibly early May, due to personal plans this week for some council members.