On Monday night the Jamestown City Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing the mayor to accept the final report on Fleet Management Practices, prepared by Mercury Associates.
The firm was hired in 2016 to assist city officials with managing its vehicle and equipment fleet. The cost of the report was $58,000 – with money coming from funds given to the city by the State Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments in an effort to help the city identify efficiencies to help reduce local costs.
The study provides a blueprint for a new fleet structure that would not only help to manage vehicles, but also eliminate underused/duplicate vehicles. It also calls for sharing more non-specialized vehicles and equipment, implementing a new vehicle and equipment turnover program, and increase leverage with original equipment manufacturers for after-sales service and support.
Mayor Sam Teresi said there is little to no cost to pursue some of the initiatives in the plan, but a significant amount of funding would be needed to replace old vehicles, as well as prepare city facilities to house any newer vehicles that may come online in the coming years.
“To really get into the meat and potatoes of what is in that Mercury plan — that really can save significant dollars for the rate payer customers of the BPU and the taxpayer customers of the city council and me as mayor – it will require some serious investment of capitol to buy new equipment, to buy new maintenance operation equipment, to make renovations to building to make them large enough and tall enough to take new equipment in, and ultimately to secure that energy-efficient, productive equipment that can really help us lower costs,” Teresi said.
The mayor has said the funding to cover the related costs associated with vehicles and equipment could come from the proposed Capital Infrastructure and Equipment Replacement Program announced in November. Money for the fund would come from what the mayor calls a “paper sale” involving the city selling its $16 million Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in the town of Poland, to the Jamestown Local Development Corporation (JLDC). The JLDC would use bonding as a way to pay for the sale with BPU rate payers – both in and outside of the city – helping to pay off the debt for those bonds over a period of time.
The plan is not without controversy, as the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce / Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, along with others, have come against the proposal.