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From time to time, you may see an unusual Village vehicle and wonder why it’s in our fleet. For some vehicles (like the swaploader we recently posted about), it’s because we work to be innovative and reduce costs by combining multiple needs into one multi-purpose truck. For others, it is because we work to reduce fleet costs by acquiring vehicles through alternative means.
The Village has two Chevy HHRs in our Public Works Department. Both were acquired free of charge from the federal government, as military surplus vehicles. They have low operating costs and a large interior cargo area, and as such they are highly effective for a variety of lighter-duty Public Works needs. This allows us to keep miles off of our larger / more expensive equipment, and make use of these free vehicles.
You may see the small Mitsubishi utility truck in the Pingree Grove Independence Day parade and wonder about its use. It’s certainly cute for throwing candy! More importantly, it too was acquired free of charge through military surplus. Equipped with 4wd and a dump-box, this small and light truck can get into many areas that larger trucks cannot. It’s flexible enough to use on bike paths and off-road areas, and fills in for a variety of duties. While commercial utility vehicles can cost tens of thousands of dollars, the Mitsubishi can fill some of those roles, safely and efficiently, again as a vehicle acquired for free.
The Village employs two HMMWV (“Hummer”) vehicles, both also acquired as military surplus vehicles. One is used by the Police Department for calls in areas of the Village not accessible by standard patrol vehicles, such as on trails or in wetland areas. It is also used for emergency responses during blizzard conditions when area roads are closed or otherwise impassible. The second Hummer is used by the Public Works Department to access off-road areas that are not accessible by our standard pickup trucks. Both expand our capacity to access all areas of the Village, even during extreme weather.
Finally, the last photograph is of a Crown Victoria that was formerly in service with the Police Department. When this vehicle reached an age that it was no longer suited for front line police patrol services because of age, mileage and condition, it was retired from Police service and moved to the Public Works department. In Public Works, it is used to move Village staff and supplies when the use of a truck is not required. As the vehicle has minimal trade-in value, continuing to keep it in alternate productive service while it still has useful life allows the Village to extend the life of our other fleet vehicles.
The Village does purchase new equipment where the nature of the equipment is such that it is necessary for critical operations, or where vehicles will be used in severe service conditions. However, because our Board is mindful of the costs of maintaining its fleet, we supplement the new vehicles with used—or surplus—vehicles where it is possible to do so.