Smithtown town officials are weighing a five-year plan to replace the town’s aging vehicles by leasing through Enterprise Fleet Management.
Officials say the proposal will cut the upfront costs of buying new vehicles and reduce hefty expenses inherent in maintaining older models.
Comptroller Donald Musgnug said the town pays for 100 percent of its vehicle purchases through serial bonds, but the town’s leasing costs will be less than the vehicle’s expected trade-in value.
“If we sell it for more than the payoff price, that benefits the town residents,” he added.
Musgnug said Smithtown has allocated about $986,000 in its 2016 budget for the purchase and maintenance of the town’s vehicles, which are used by various departments. The average age of the fleet is 10 1⁄2 years, and 111 of the town’s 192 vehicles are more than a decade old, Musgnug said.
Vote is expected Jan. 21
Officials have said they may vote on an agreement with Enterprise as soon as the Jan. 21 board meeting. Enterprise approached Musgnug this past fall. In the past three years, the company has increased its partnerships with municipalities in New York State, its representatives said.
Brookhaven Town entered into a five-year leasing agreement with Enterprise in December. In April, the Town of Huntington began a five-year lease agreement with the company.
In Smithtown, the proposal calls for replacing 173 vehicles over five years. Enterprise would purchase cars, SUVs or trucks under 26,000 gross pounds vehicle weight directly from the manufacturer, apply government incentives specific to Smithtown toward the purchase and then lease the vehicles to the town, Musgnug said.
Jay Greene, an executive consultant for Enterprise Fleet Management, said the town would also have access to manufacturer incentives that could be lower than state contract prices.
The agreement would also call for Enterprise to advise the town on the best time to sell its leased vehicles — sometimes at a profit, officials said.
No penalties for wear and tear
Jacob Garth, government marketing manager for Enterprise Fleet Management, said unlike typical vehicle leases, the town would not face penalties for wear and tear or selling a vehicle before the end of the five-year term.
“The more money we save you, and the quicker you’re cycling the vehicles, the more money we make,” he said at the work session. “So it’s a win-win for both parties.”
Councilman Thomas McCarthy said he supported replacing about half of the town’s fleet over the next year to three years.
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said he was satisfied with the five-year replacement cycle.
“The beauty of the whole plan is we’re out of the car and truck business and the leasing company has the expertise as to the value and the time periods for removal of certain vehicles,” he said.