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Babylon vehicles get new tracking devices

Babylon’s town board last week approved a contract to outfit town vehicles with tracking devices more sophisticated than those already in place.

The $86,220 contract with Deer Park-based Vehicle Tracking Solutions will give the town real-time locations of 360 vehicles — something the old devices do — but also will alert supervisors if town vehicles exceed speed limits and will monitor vehicle idling time, town spokesman Tim Ruggeri said.

“It gives us tools to implement policies and more efficiently manage our fleet,” he said. With better routing and less idling time, he said, the town can cut fuel costs. He did not provide an estimate of projected savings, though, and figures for gas spending on vehicles outfitted with the existing tracking system were not immediately available.

The devices will be installed in 300 town vehicles. Sixty mobile devices will go into contracted plowing trucks during snow season.

Babylon was the first municipality on Long Island to adopt widespread use of global positioning tracking in 2006. About a week later, three workers were caught and eventually disciplined — two for slacking off on town time and a supervisor for failing to report them.

Some workers grumbled over what they said was Big Brother-like surveillance, but an official for Teamsters Local 237, which represents Babylon town workers, said at the time that “from an efficiency standpoint, the town has a right to do it.”

Ruggeri said he didn’t expect the new devices “to cause a stir” among town workers.

 

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