Huntsville town council has approved the purchase of a new combination dump truck and plow a year ahead of schedule.

The new truck will cost about $325,000 and replaces a 2009 model that Huntsville Manager of Operations Kevin Boucock says is already two years beyond its expected 10-year lifespan. According to Boucock, the truck already has almost 160,000 km and 79,000 hours on it from plowing, ditching, gravel repair, culvert replacement, and other work.

The town’s five-year budget from 2021 projected that $300,000 would be needed to replace the truck in 2023. However, Boucock says the COVID-19 pandemic has increased delivery times, and a custom order like this could take up to 18 months to be fulfilled. In other words, to get the truck in time for the 2022 winter season, the order would need to be placed now. 

Furthermore, delaying the order of the new truck could cost the town $10,000 to keep the current truck operational, as well as costing more because of rising steel prices, according to Boucock. He says that when the new vehicle arrives, usable parts will be stripped from the old truck, with the remainder sold at auction. The funds will be budgeted into the town’s 2022 fleet capital budget.

Council also approved the hiring of a consultant, costing up to $19,500 before tax, to search for the next Director of Operations and Protective Services for the town. Steve Hernen, who currently holds the position, will retire in January.