Town highway workers save big money, turn three used box trucks into plows

Town highway workers save big money, turn three used box trucks into plows

One of the new plows that workers converted from an old box truck.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – When Jimmy Grimes, head of the North Providence Repair Division, approached Mayor Charles Lombardi to say that the department needed some new plow trucks, Lombardi said no.

“Build them yourselves,” Grimes recalls the mayor telling him.

And so Grimes and his staff did, purchasing a trio of what Lombardi fondly refers to as “Cardi” box trucks and converting them into combined plow trucks and sanders.When the 2012 trucks aren’t in use during the winter, they’ll be used as standard dump trucks all summer, said Grimes.

Grimes said the total cost of acquiring one of these trucks is typically about $90,000 new, not including sander, plow and hydraulics, which bump that total to about $115,000 apiece. By purchasing box trucks at $17,000 each and then modifying them, workers were able to do the whole job for about $36,000 apiece, or $108,000 total.That’s a savings of about $237,000, he said.

“Our guys did a great job and saved us a lot of money,” said Lombardi this week.

The trucks have about 80,000 miles on them, but the mayor expects with proper maintenance that they’ll still be running at 300,000 miles. There’s simply no sense in buying these trucks new when such deals are to be had, he said.

North Providence continues to do more with less, said Lombardi. With limited development potential and a fairly stagnant tax base due to overdevelopment, there’s not a lot of room to grow, leading to a constant urgency to finding operational savings.

“This is our salvation,” he said of ongoing deals. “This is our revenue.”

Lombardi has developed a bit of reputation for scoring great deals on trucks and equipment at state auctions. He was a voice behind getting the state to include municipal officials in auctions, and has since purchased numerous vehicles for the town at a fraction of what they would cost new.

A before picture of one of the box trucks before it was converted into a plow/sander.

Comments

If they are supposedly saving money then why are we as taxpayers overpaying for road salt? $5000.00 for November delivery !!!!!

Another disgruntled employee still angry about getting fired. Get a job. Salt, Salt, Salt, If that's all you have to complain about ? The town must be doing great !!!