Township purchases vehicles for public works

The ordinance and proceeding resolutions were adopted in hopes of replacing the trucks that were destroyed in the April 13 fire.

Capt. Jeff Ferry of the Mantua Township Police Department receives the oath with Mayor Pete Scirrotto, wife Carla, left, and daughters Maddy and Hailey (hidden). Ferry has been at the department since 2001. (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

After the April 13 public works fire, the Mantua Township Committee agreed, on first reading, to purchase five rental trucks for the department.

On April 13 around 4 a.m., officials were called to a fire at the public works building. Five trash trucks were reported to be destroyed. An investigation into the fire is still being conducted by the county’s fire marshal.

The committee members unanimously, with the exception of Shawn Layton who was absent, adopted the ordinance under first reading to place the trucks under a bond. The bond totals $1,042,500 over a 15-year period.

We had no other choice but to bond this extremely expensive purchase,” said township administrator Jennica Belici. “The debt service payment on these will not affect the budget this year. We are having one debt come off, we were hoping to be able to use that for other capital projects, and this will now be replacing it.”

The bond’s original estimated amount of $1.4 million was reduced after insurance covered roughly $340,000, which is also the down payment.

The township adopted succeeding resolutions, including one authorizing an emergency contract, to purchase the trucks. Four of the trucks are AutoCar Automated Trash Trucks with related equipment, which total $1,130,336. The fifth truck is a $237,804 Mack Chasis with a 32-Yard New Way Rear Loader.

I’ve never been through something like this, and I know you haven’t,” said Belici to Public Works Supervisor Steve Alexander. “I can’t say enough on how great of a job you did to reach out to the towns and coming up solutions to the problem.

The committee also said it is looking into ways to formally thank Williamstown, Logan, West Deptford and Westville for their help following the fire.

Deputy Mayor Bob Zimmerman added no complaints were made about the trash pickup schedule and delays by residents.

Public comments on the ordinance will be heard on May 20 during the committee meeting.

In other news:

  • The committee held a swearing-in ceremony for Jeff Ferry’s promotion from lieutenant to captain of the Mantua Police Department. Ferry filled the open position of captain after previous Dave Mastrogiacomo retired in February 2018. Ferry has been working in the department since 2001, and has risen in the ranks from sergeant (2004) to lieutenant (2012). He later thanked Mayor Pete Scirrotto, the committee, administration in the department and his family.
  • Police Chief Darren White said the department is accepting applications until May 22 for a full-time officer, with a written test scheduled for May 29.
  • He added results for the distracted driving campaign are in: “Officers stopped 506 cars, two DWIs, three seat-belt tickets, one child-restraint ticket, 18 suspended licenses, four uninsured motorists, nine speeding tickets, three reckless driving, 12 cell phone violations, and 162 other moving and non-moving violations. Made eight felony arrests, and apprehended 18 other fugitives, which could be warrants and things of that nature. Made nine drug arrests, and also arrests for shoplifting, simple assault and eluding.”
  • Several police cars are out of commission due to a fire, blown motor, a car hit by a school bus, a car hit by a forklift, and the chief’s car being rear-ended. White added no injuries resulted in the incidents and they “don’t appear to be the fault of the officers.”

The next committee meeting is scheduled for May 20, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building.