Council Rejects Equipment Donations To County. Will Auction Instead.

Six (6) pieces of equipment that were originally slated to be donated to Union County Division of Public Works from the municipality were voted down at the December 7th Mayor & Council meeting. Resolution 324-17 had three (3) snow plow blades for garbage trucks and three (3) Versa Buckets formally used to pick up leaves which, according to Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Mark Pasquali, were no longer used by the municipality.

The resolution was pulled from the general concensus for separate discussion. Third Ward Councilman William Fahoury recommended that instead of donating the equipment, they be put up for auction through a new resolution at the December 21st municipal meeting.

If these items have been there for ten years, as claimed, something in the past month or two has had to have changed . . . Something new has happened and we’re just not aware of it. We’ll find out about it eventually, but not now.” – Councilman Eugene Meola

Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey added, “I would like to say that I don’t see any reason that we shouldn’t auction this off . . . If we were going to give these away, I would say give them to the county because they could be used in this town. However, I am more inclined to say put them up for auction.”

Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley commented that although the county does do work in the borough, taxes are paid for those services and that they are free.

Second Ward Councilman Joseph Petrosky remarked, “From what I was told, the equipment that they [DPW] want to donate, the county can use it because they have the trucks for it . . . And, if you remember, during the year the sweeper went down and the county fixed the sweeper. We bought the part and they fix [it] with no charge.  It was a little gesture to keep that going, like next year if something else breaks down, maybe the county will fix it [for free] . . . The other option would be to auction it.”

Mayor Carl Hokanson interjected into the discussion, “The plows that are down there now were for the old bigger single screw dump trucks that we had that we don’t have any more.  Over the last, since I’ve been here in the last nine years I’ve been on council, we’ve been buying mason dumps. These plows were for the big old Ford and International dump trucks that we used. We haven’t used them in over ten years. We’ve been buying mason dumps which calls for a smaller plow . . . This is a good will gesture. When we need help from big brother, big brother always comes down. I’ve said it a hundred times since I’ve been mayor – if I needed things, I make the phone calls . . . they come down. It’s like big brother so, me, for what we can get, I think it would be better as a good will gesture to give them to the county to plow our streets and pick up the leaves with the equipment that we’re giving them.”

Councilwoman Storey asked, “Is there any idea of the value of these items? I don’t know what we’re really talking about in terms of value. Is this something that is worth scrap metal price?”

“With the plows that are down there now, you’re talking scrap metal price,” responded Mayor Hokanson, “Me, personally, I think it’d be a good gesture to give it to the county but I don’t . . . vote.”

Councilman Fahoury made the suggestion that in future, equipment should try to be auctioned off before donating it. Councilwoman Storey asked if a reserve minimum could be put on an auciton and Borough Clerk Andrew Casais confirmed that, either by precedent or resolution, a minimum reserve price can be put on an item for auction – as has been done with vehicles that the municipality auctions. The councilwoman recommended that if the reserve is not met when auctioned, then the equipment could be donated.

First Ward Councilman Eugene Meola said during the discussion, “If these items have been there for ten years, as claimed, something in the past month or two has had to have changed. Somebody looked at this, maybe had to go out and buy one or said they was going to purchase one and then somebody said ‘Don’t. I have it. Maybe I can get it to you for nothing. Don’t buy it’. Something new has happened and we’re just not aware of it. We’ll find out about it eventually, but not now. That’s probably why, because if had been sticking around for ten years, it could have been gotten rid of years ago but somebody acquired this or asked questions about this and that’s why it’s on there now. That’s the way I look at it so it’s got value. Don’t think it doesn’t.”

Councilman Petrosky explained, “But only certain machines can use it . . . They’ve been using mason dumps. It’s no good to us.”

The resolution was ultimately defeated by a 4-2 with only Councilman Petrosky and Fourth Ward Councilman Michael Connelly voting in favor of donating the equipment.

A resolution to auction the equipment will be put on theDecember 21st municipal meeting.