Joint boards approve request for new SUV

NAUGATUCK — The Joint Boards of Mayor and Burgesses and Finance unanimously approved a request from the fire department for a new SUV at a meeting Monday night.

The approved Ford Explorer would replace a 1999 Ford Expedition used by Second Assistant Chief Paul Russell. The borough is contractually obligated to provide Russell with a car.

Last month, the Joint Boards of Mayor and Burgesses and Finance shot down a request for $4,700 to repair the Ford Expedition worth $4,200.  The vehicle has 118,000 miles on it and goes through three to four quarts of oil per week, Hanks said previously.

“I don’t think anyone felt that pouring thousands of dollars in excess of the value of an old vehicle was a good idea,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

During last Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting, Hanks asked the board to transfer $9,300 from the contingency fund for lease payments on the new vehicle. According to Hanks, the vehicle would cost about $28,000 over a three year lease-to-own program. The cost also includes about $3,000 for fire equipment, including a radio, emergency lighting, and sirens.

“It’s a better long term decision to go this route that put a Band-Aid on something that’s not likely to last very long,” Mezzo said.

The Ford Expedition is one of several fire department vehicles on its last legs. Last month, the joint boards approved repairs for Engine 3, but three other cars and one other engine bought in the 1990s are in need of repair or replacement in the near future, according to Hanks.

Hanks indicated that he plans to request a vehicle replacement program to start in next year’s budget.