Northampton to purchase new vehicles

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

JACKSON – Three new vehicles were approved for purchase during the Northampton County Commissioner’s meeting here last week.

Having already submitted the items in their respective budgets, Northampton County Land Use Administrator William Flynn and Northampton County Code Enforcement Officer Jay Watson requested that commissioners release capital outlay funds and grant them authorization to purchase the much-needed vehicles for their departments.

According to Flynn, Zoning Department employees have been using personal vehicles to perform zoning and other land use related inspections ever since the inception of the county’s zoning program.

&uot;Occasionally, the department has been able to use the few existing motor pool vehicles, but they are rarely available,&uot; he said.

Flynn added that a two-wheel drive truck would be most practical since many of the inspections require zoning employees to travel down unimproved roads/paths often with challenging terrain.

Although the initial budgeted amount for the vehicle was $15,660, a lesser price of $12,279.66 was obtained through state contract.

As for Code Inspection, Watson stated since the department had two inspectors who frequently traveled in different directions, it would be best to secure a vehicle for each.

For the past 10 years, the department has been utilizing surplus vehicles retired from other departments, all of which, according to Watson, have had high mileage and substantial defects when they were received.

Over the years, the department has spent significant funds, including $596 since April of last year, to maintain its existing vehicles and keep them operating safely.

&uot;The department currently has one car, with 158,600 miles on it and is frequently out of service, undergoing repairs,&uot; he said.

Watson plans to purchase one two-wheel drive truck for routine inspections and a four-wheel drive truck for traveling to new construction sites where equipment has torn up the ground.

The board approved the release of $26,880 from capital outlay for the two vehicles with $14,897 allocated for the four-wheel drive vehicle and $11,923 for the two-wheel drive vehicle.

Upon the recommendation of Northampton County Finance Office Dot Vick, commissioners agreed to finance the vehicles over a period of three years to maintain the county’s capital outlay budget so as to leverage it for future negotiations, specifically the sale of the nine million dollar school bonds.

All of the funds approved for release were the lowest bids.