02/18/09 — Fremont to buy truck to help with waste collection

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Fremont to buy truck to help with waste collection

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on February 18, 2009 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont residents may see a brand new truck come this spring when leaves are picked up in front of their homes.

After some discussion and months of mulling the idea over, the Fremont Board of Aldermen approved the purchase of a $100,000 grapple truck at its meeting Tuesday night.

And Town Manager Kerry McDuffie assured board members that the truck would not make town taxes rise.

"Tell me exactly what that grapple truck will do," Alderman Leon Mooring said. "Will it reach over and pick up leaves and stuff?"

McDuffie said that the machine would help with leaf pickup as well as bulk pickup -- when the town picks up large items a few times a year.

He explained that the truck will be like a large dump truck that will have an arm and stabilizers that extend to pick up items on the town's streets when need be.

"It will make it that much easier, much quicker," McDuffie said. "I will tell you that I worked on a crew years ago that had a grapple truck, and we had to pick up a pool table. The grapple truck picked it right up. It took us about 30 to 40 seconds to pick it up from when we stopped."

Alderman Harold Cuddington asked if there was a way to just buy the grapple arm and put it on another truck.

McDuffie said that it would be a tough thing to do, that they would have to get a large enough truck with a large enough chassis that would hold the arm, and a large enough truck bed for it.

"If we don't do this, in the near future -- I don't know how much in the near future -- but we will have to replace the dump truck for leaf collection," McDuffie said.

He said that the town's 1978 Chevrolet dump truck would be replaced with the grapple truck.

Cuddington asked if the town would have to hire someone to help with leaf pickup, if the town purchased the new truck.

"I am positive we won't have to hire someone if we buy this truck," McDuffie said.

"Well, that will pay for the truck," Cuddington said.

"And you can use it as a dump truck, too?" Alderman Al Lewis asked.

"Yes, sir," McDuffie said. "It's a regular dump body with a hydraulic arm."

Alderman W.T. Smith told McDuffie that if the town can save a salary, the truck is worth it.

"But will we have to go up on taxes?" Smith asked.

"On account of this truck? No," McDuffie said. "If the economy keeps going bad and the sales tax keeps going down -- there's no way to know what's going to happen.

"I don't foresee anything right now. I'm not about to make any guarantees. I'll do my best for them not to go up."

The board also discussed the status of the spray field.

Reopening an old spray field could drastically reduce the cost of sending untreated wastewater to Goldsboro.

After a hydrology test, McDuffie said that the spray field can accommodate a maximum of 160,000 gallons of wastewater a day.

With Goldsboro charging the town $5 per 1,000 gallons of wastewater, the town could save $800 a day or about $298,000 a year.

But then out of that money saved will have to come someone to run the spray field.

"That will be about $40,000 with benefits. We will need about $10,000 for chemical cost, $10,000 for electrical cost and them some money for liability and things," McDuffie said. "So it will be about $70,000 to $75,000 to operate.

"We should see a (real) savings of close to $200,000 a year."

McDuffie said that the project should be put out to bid in June, and the town would likely award bids in July.

"We will have a shovel in the ground in August," he said. "That's just a rough time frame right now."

Mayor Devone Jones told the board that if they are saving that much money, they should give residents a discount on their sewer bills. "I'm not saying how much of a discount, but a discount," he said. "When we had to go up, (the citizens) didn't like it, but they took it with a smile. Now I think we need to give them a discount."