City of Syracuse Looking to Beef up the Amount of Snow Plow Available

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Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the City is working with the Common Council, state and federal partners to build up its snow plows this winter to prepare for major upgrades to its fleet.

To secure the City’s snow removal equipment the Thruway Authority will loan the City two surplus snow plow trucks at no cost for the remainder of this winter. The City will secure a plow through a surplus program operated by the U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA). The City will acquire ten new ten-wheel dump-snow plows as well as three plow-equipped pickups to be ready next winter 2020–21.

“Working with the Thruway Authority and the GSA is a smart way for us in the short term to begin addressing the age of our fleet,” said Mayor Walsh.

“The plows in our fleet have an average-years-of-service of a decade which leads to more frequent repairs and downtime. That puts stress on our whole team and hurts our service to residents. These acquisitions will help bridge the gap to the new additions to our fleet which, by acting now, we expect to have on the streets for next winter.”

The Department of Public Works (DPW) proposed  a no-cost permit agreement with the Thruway Authority under which two 7-ton snow plow trucks will be made available to the City. The City also plans to obtain a 9- year-old six-wheel 4×4 plow/dump truck from the GSA. The truck comes at no cost to the City aside from GSA fees totaling less than $4,000.

“By loaning two surplus seven-ton plow trucks to the City of Syracuse, the Thruway Authority is pleased to be able to bolster the City’s snow fighting fleet,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll.

“This partnership demonstrates the critical value of government collaborations between the state and municipalities.”

Five of the new snow plows and the three plow-equipped pickups will initially be purchased by the City. The City will receive reimbursements for the five plows under the State Department of Transportation Consolidated Highway Improvement Program. Total cost of the new equipment to the City will be approximately $1.1 million.

The three equipment upgrades are subject to approval by the Syracuse Common Council at a Jan. 13 meeting.

Apart from new equipment, the City has also hired a citywide director of fleet operations whose focused responsibility will be managing the maintenance and acquisition of the City’s vehicles and truck equipment.

The director job description was updated and expanded by Mayor Walsh. The director will manage the fleet operations program across all departments, including procurement and administration, inventory, preventative maintenance, repairs and replacement scheduling ensuring sufficiency and more.

The new position was authorized by Syracuse Common Council included in the City’s 2020 budget

“We greatly appreciate the assistance of our state and federal partners, particularly the support of the New York State Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation. I look forward to working with the Council to make the investment in new plows for next winter and beyond,” Mayor Walsh said.