Sale of scrap metal to pay for two trucks with snow plows

The Southold Town Highway Department. (Credit: Grant Parpan)
The Southold Town Highway Department. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Southold Town Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando added one last item to his Christmas list this week — and the Southold Town Board has obliged his request.

The board unanimously approved a late resolution Tuesday to purchase two light duty pickup trucks with snow plows for the highway department. About $34,000 of the more than $60,000 used to purchase the new trucks came from the sale of excess scrap metal from the highway department yard, but the approval did receive some push back from the board.

This is the second time in his first year in office that Mr. Orlando has come to the Town Board looking to buy new trucks. In June, the town bonded $180,000 to purchase a heavy-duty vehicle capable of working as both a snow plow and a sander at the highway superintendent’s request. Mr. Orlando said that purchase was the first step in his plan to “rotate the fleet,” replacing older trucks that need costly repairs with newer ones. In October — at Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell’s request — he presented a four-year $250,000 capital plan to continue that process.

On Tuesday, Mr. Orlando told the Town Board the new proposal to purchase pickup trucks was being done independently of that plan.

Mr. Russell questioned that process, asking why the money wasn’t allocated in the 2015 budget.

“Well, this is revenue-generated,” Mr. Orlando responded. “This doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything. We generated this money ourselves through liquidation of steel and equipment.”

Councilman Bill Ruland said using the funds generated from the sale of scrap metal to pay for the two new trucks now gives the town “a leg up” on its plan to rotate the fleet.

“It is a one-shot revenue … but I think it’s best served giving you the latest model equipment for your [fleet],” he said.

Mr. Russell and Councilwoman Louisa Evans suggested Mr. Orlando expand on his four-year plan — which featured past inventory reports and a sort of narrative about the department’s needs, but no specific costs or anticipated dates of purchase — to include a spreadsheet outlining which items will be purchased each year and how much they will cost.

“That’s what we really need,” Mr. Russell said.

“Yeah, not just a typed thing,” Ms. Evans added. “A spreadsheet.”

Mr. Orlando said Tuesday’s resolution was submitted outside of his plan because the revenue had not previously been anticipated.

Mr. Russell said the use of one-shot revenue gives him some cause for concern.

“The ability of creating revenue is great, but I don’t think we should be in the mindset of ‘If I go sell some things I can go spend this money,’” he said. “I’ll agree to buying them, but it should have been in the 2015 budget.”

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