CRANFORD, NJ — The new year brings many changes. For the Department of Public Works, that change needs to come in the form of new equipment.
At the Cranford Township Committee meeting on Feb. 4, Department of Public Works Assistant Superintendent Erik Hastrup insisted that the 2020 capital budget include funds for new equipment that department workers need to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.
The list of requested equipment consists of four items: a street sweeper, a roll-off truck, a stump grinder and a pickup truck.
According to Hastrup, the public works department currently has two street sweepers, one each for the city’s north and south sides. The 2014 model is approaching the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced immediately, as the loss of one sweet sweeper would result in dangerous overuse of the remaining one.
The second requested item was a new roll-off truck. According to Hastrup, the Department of Public Works currently has a 17-year-old roll-off truck from 2003. It is used daily throughout November and December to move fallen leaves to the Union County quarry. It also transports recycling materials.
If that truck were to break down, Hastrup said, Union County wouldn’t be able to move roll-off containers to their proper places. An outside contractor would be needed in emergency situations.
The department lost one of its two roll-off trucks in an accident 12 years ago and never replaced it. Its request for a new roll-off truck last year wasn’t approved. Hastrup said that the department is once again requesting a new roll-off truck in anticipation of a busy year ahead.
“I was told to put in for the new roll-off truck this year being that it’ll be relied on heavily to haul leaves to the quarry,” Hastrup said during his speech Tuesday night.
Hastrup noted that an outside contractor would likely cost around $40,000.
“In four years, at $160,000, that truck would pay for itself, in addition to being used for other things,” said Hastrup.
The public works department also requested a replacement for its stump grinder, a machine that grinds tree stumps after a tree is cut down. Hastrup suggested that a replacement might cost $56,000 or $62,000.
The public works department currently has a 1999 model, which at its age could potentially cease functioning at any time.
“Could I go and use the stump-grinder right now, yes,” Hastrup said. “I’m looking to just to replace it because it’s getting up there in age and it’s essential when we’re doing sidewalk repairs. If we’re taking down a tree, for example, because sidewalks are lifted, I need to grind that stump.”
“There are other instances where we don’t take down the tree and we grind roots,” he continued, “that might be the culprit for the sidewalks being lifted. So, it’s used not just for stump grinding but also for grinding roots.”
The last item the department requested was a pickup truck. According to Hastrup, the new pickup truck will replace a 1999 Ford truck inherited from the police department.
The cost of the replacements, if approved, will come out of the town’s 2020 capital budget.
“I’m hopeful these items will be approved,” Hastrup told LocalSource after his address. “They’re needed for the township to work on a day-to-day basis.”