Letter: Why Jamaica needs to replace the Town Garage
The existing town garage is a metal structure and not energy efficient. It was purchased in November of 1976 (40 years ago) at a cost of $14,837.00 for the unit with the extra costs of $9,445.00 for installation. Back then the price of fuel was inexpensive and the cost of heating was not an issue. The price of fuel has escalated over the past several years and the cost to heat the building went sky high. The cost to heat this building is approximately $10,000.00 per year depending on the price of fuel. The building is not insulated sufficiently to keep the inside warm for our dedicated employees to work on the trucks and equipment. The present building is basically a storage unit and should have been sold as one, not as a working garage.
As it stands now the building can only hold three vehicles. When the vehicles are parked in the garage there is very little room for the employees to work on them. Also, moving around the vehicles is very difficult and poses a safety hazard for the workers. As a result, only two trucks can be housed inside when they are being worked on. When the building was purchased 40 years ago, consideration of placing all of the equipment was not taken into account. Keeping our expensive equipment outside will result in early deterioration and replacement. The equipment the town owns that stays outdoors are: grader; backhoe; loader; 1-ton utility truck; chipper and chloride container, all together valued at more than $400,000.00. These are high costs that can be reduced with a proper facility. It also takes additional time to shovel off the snow and ice before the highway crew can head out to care for your roads in a timely manner.
The existing building is just one large room (40'x 64'x 16'). The employees have no access to an office or lunch room and are in constant contact with the fumes from the trucks. The bathroom is in poor working condition. This environment is very unhealthy for our employees. We should be ashamed of ourselves to have let this happen. Our employees have never complained about the conditions and they continue to come to work every day to take care of your roads. The highway department is arguably the most important division in the town.
A public site visit of the highway garage has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. followed by a public informational meeting regarding the bond vote at the Town Office meeting room.
Please attend the meeting and the site visit at the town garage to see the conditions that Keith, Richard and Donald are working in without any complaint. This is a very important project for the town and if we wait any longer the costs will only increase. Doing this project now will be financially beneficial to the town in the years to come.
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