Saturday, April 18, 2009

Area officials learn benefits of sharing services

HARWINTON — Town leaders through Litchfield county gathered at the Town Hall for a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, to commemorate a new program of sharing heavy equipment.

A total of 10 towns in the area are set to benefit from the Litchfield Hills Public Works Equipment Cooperative, which is a sharing of major equipment for road maintenance. Two street sweepers and one basing cleaner were purchased through the program, which was made possible by a $700,000 grant the council received from the state’s Regional Performance Incentive Program.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell set the program up for the cooperative sharing of equipment as a method for reducing municipal costs. Bob Valentine, Goshen first selectman and council president, said that it is something that area leaders are familiar with.

"We’re not new to working together in the Northwest Corner," Valentine said. "We’ve done this quite a bit."

He noted the recent exchange between area towns of salt for winter road maintenance.
The street sweepers will be housed in both Harwinton and Hartland and the catch basin cleaner will remain in Torrington. Each municipalities’ personnel will maintain the equipment, he said.
The process by which the towns will use the equipment is each municipality will pay an hourly rate, Valentine said. That rate will take care of maintenance while at the same time, some money will be put away for future capital use, he said.

"At the end of their life, they will use that money to buy new ones," he said.
The council has also purchased an extended warranty on the equipment, although Valentine could not state how long it would last.

The catch basin cleaner cost $252,141 and the two street sweepers combined cost $400,157. A portion of the balance went towards legal review fees, while the remaining will go to a capital replacement fund to help pay for equipment replacement.


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