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Smithtown OKs Enterprise vehicle-lease plan

The Town of Smithtown is planning to update

The Town of Smithtown is planning to update its fleet by leasing vehicles through Enterprise, which has its fleet management regional headquarters in East Elmhurst, Queens, seen here earlier in January. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Smithtown officials are moving forward with a plan to lease vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Management as part of an effort to reduce the costs of acquiring new vehicles and maintaining the town’s aging fleet.

The town board voted 5-0 Thursday night to authorize the execution of a master equity vehicle lease agreement with Enterprise FM Trust. The town plans to replace 23 high-mileage vehicles this year, officials said.

Town Comptroller Donald Musgnug said earlier this month that the average age of the town’s fleet is 10 1⁄2 years, and 111 of the town’s 192 vehicles are more than a decade old. Musgnug also 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 lease proposal calls for replacing 173 town vehicles over five years, but the town board has the flexibility to shorten the implementation period, Musgnug said. Enterprise would purchase cars, sport utility vehicles or trucks under 26,000 gross pounds vehicle weight directly from the manufacturer, apply government incentives specific to Smithtown toward the purchases and then lease the vehicles to the town, he said.

Over the lease term, officials aim to meet several key objectives, Musgnug said.

“We want to bring the vehicle life cycle from nine years to five years, reduce fuel spending by 20 to 35 percent, reduce maintenance costs by 40 percent with parts only, and reduce future vehicle acquisition costs and the requisite need to issue bonds to pay for them,” he said.

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in an interview Friday that he voted for the agreement because it is cost-effective. “It’s more efficient and it’s a safety factor for the employees who drive those vehicles,” he said. “Newer vehicles are safer than older vehicles,” he said.

Councilman Edward Wehrheim said the lease plan would yield savings. “It’s absolutely going to save taxpayer money with maintenance, labor and you have the service component — these vehicles won’t be broke down and sitting, these vehicles will be available to provide service to the public,” he said Friday.

At least two other Long Island municipalities are working with Enterprise. 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, officials said.

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