2017-09-01 / Front Page

Vehicle maintenance adds a town

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

After taking on the vehicle maintenance for three nearby communities – Hollis, Old Orchard Beach and Wells – the Scarborough Public Works Department is set to add a fourth to its duties.

Last week, the town council agreed to have the public works staff add Kennebunk fire apparatuses to its workload. The service contract begins Sept. 1 and runs through June 30, 2018 when it will be reviewed and possibly extended for another year term.

Like with the other contracts, this one has a profit margin built into it, so taking on the work should not cost the taxpayers as the work performed and parts will be paid for by Kennebunk.

“We expect we can accomplish this with the existing staff. We don’t expect it to have any undue burden on us,” Town Manager Tom Hall told the council.

During the initial agreement, the hourly rate for services is set at $59.89 and overtime at $85.34. The hourly rate will increase 3 percent annually every July 1. Repair and maintenance parts of less than $1,000 will be sold at cost, plus 15 percent. Parts and repair more than $1,000 will be sold at cost, plus 10 percent. Per the agreement, Scarborough will be responsible for “scheduling vehicle maintenance repair, outsourcing, new equipment set-ups and warranty work, a well as “coordinating parts and supplies, cost structuring, and monthly billing.” Scarborough will be responsible “for all related record-keeping and reporting.”

Hall said while the contract deals with Kennebunk’s fire apparatus, Scarborough’s department of public works may do other vehicle maintenance work on a case-by-case basis.

Councilor Peter Hayes asked at the council meeting if the town has done a return on investment analysis to see if doing the vehicle maintenance work for other communities “is a good deal for the town.” Hall said Department of Public Works Director Mike Shaw has done such an analysis.

“He would certainly not be recommending this and bringing on another community if it was not a successful venture,” Hall said.

Shaw said the analysis shows the arrangement is achieving the department’s goal of making sure the taxpayers are not subsidizing the extra vehicle maintenance costs associated with the Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Wells contracts.

“We have planned for a 12 to 15 percent blended margin on all parts to cover the overhead associated with parts procurement services. We are meeting those goals at this time. The model is working for both Scarborough and the customer municipalities in that we receive revenue and the member communities are getting work done at a reasonable rate,” Shaw wrote in an email to the Leader.

Hall said the biggest concern has been “keeping up with the work flow,” but the town has been “able to regulate that such as we can do that without impact our first priority, which is to taking care our equipment and the school’s (equipment).”

Shaw said so far the vehicle maintenance contracts with Old Orchard Beach – in place since July, Hollis – in place since December 2016 and Wells, in place since January – has been going well.

“With the addition of Kennebunk we feel that we are at a point where we can still provide good service to the outside contracted municipalities while providing the same level of service to the Scarborough municipal and school departments we have historically,” Shaw wrote. “We are planning to work with our existing communities and make sure we are not overextending ourselves before considering additional communities.”

Scarborough had entered into an agreement with Westbrook to handle the maintenance on that city’s fire and rescue fleet last year, but the arrangement never came to fruition after the Westbrook City Council decided to go in a different direction with vehicle maintenance by investing more in in-house vehicle maintenance.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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