City authorizes purchase of utility truck for street department

Above is the 2023 Freightliner bucket truck recently purchased by the City of Weiser for its electrical department. The vehicle will replace the city’s current aging bucket truck, which has about 34,000 miles on it and hundreds of operating hours on it. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
City council members on Aug. 14 approved the purchase of a new line truck, otherwise known as a bucket truck, for the city’s electrical department.
 The purchase was not to exceed $255,000 and was contingent on the vehicle’s condition. 
 A member of the electrical department flew to Denver, Colo. last week to inspect the 2023 Freightliner, which features an Altec AT60 box and boom.
 Altec, Inc. provides heavy vehicles to the electric, telecommunications, tree care, and lights and signs industries.
 The truck has 560 operating hours on it and comes with a 16-month warranty. It was reportedly last used at a military installation in Montana.
 “It’s a lease return and Altec is handling that; it’s a good deal but … we have to send somebody down there to take a look, get his hands on it, and make sure it’s not beat up or anything,” Weiser’s Public Works Director, Mike Campbell, said on Aug. 18. “It only has 10,000 miles on it and costs significantly less than a new one.”
 The city originally ordered a new truck from the manufacturer but due to high demand, there was no set delivery date.
 “We had it on order for over a year and still haven’t gotten it,” Campbell said. “Our salesman found us a used one, the exact make and model, everything that we had ordered, and it’s significantly less expensive.”
 The new truck would have cost over $262,000. The used truck comes in at approximately $246,000. 
 “We asked the council for $255,000 because we have to go get the truck and we don’t know if it will need new tires or anything like that until we actually put hands on it,” Campbell added.
 City of Weiser Electrical Department Supervisor, Wayne Wallace, flew to Denver last week and drove the approximately 55,000-pound truck 900 miles back to Weiser.
 “It’s going to be like driving inside a bucket,” Wallace chuckled during the Aug. 14 council meeting.
 “And I think it’s governed at 63 miles per hour,” Campbell added.
The crucial asset still needs to be equipped and adorned with City of Weiser logos on its doors.
 The city’s current line truck is about 24-years-old and the boom can only extend 55 feet high. Some of the power poles around Weiser are 65-feet high, which means the new truck’s approximate 63-foot reach will be a welcome addition to the electrical department.
 The turret on the old truck was overhauled about 11 years ago and is due for more work again, according to Campbell who said the vehicle has about 34,000 miles on the engine.
 “That’s not a lot of miles, but what people don’t realize is that every time that truck goes out, it idles for three or four hours while it’s sitting there. We use them until they aren’t usable and it’s time to replace it,” he said of the aging truck. “The maintenance is up there and there’s no value in it. It’s not worth anything.”
 Campbell added that 20 years is about the average life cycle for a large service vehicle of that type.
 The city is responsible for maintaining all electrical power systems in Weiser. Bonneville Power Administration provides the electricity, which is transmitted on Idaho Power lines.
 “We maintain all the electrical infrastructure within the city limits,” Campbell explained. “Everybody within city limits is on Weiser power, which we purchase from Bonneville, across Idaho Power lines. We pay a transmission tariff, but it’s still less than buying directly from Idaho Power.”
 He said it’s about 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour less.
 “Uh … build a dragster,” Campbell joked when asked what would become of the old truck. “Honestly, we don’t know for sure yet. We will probably keep it as a backup because it is still certified at least another year.”
 Service trucks with extending booms must pass an annual inspection.
 “We have some time to think about it, but we have considered taking the turret and boom off and making it a dump truck,” Campbell said. “We can make the truck complete by just putting a bed on it. We are still waiting to hear back if the rear end and the transmission would be able to handle it.”
 The city also recently purchased a truck to replace its 1994 F-800 series dump truck, which has been having engine problems.  
 Some early estimates indicate that it would cost roughly $16,000 just to replace the engine, making the vehicle something of a financial liability. The single-axle truck that was recently purchased to replace it cost $8,000. The city’s street department had enough room in its budget to make the purchase, according to Campbell.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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