DONEGAL County Council are set at spend almost €800,000 buying six new lorries and carrying out vital maintenance work on their current fleet before the winter weather hits.
In a proposal to the full Council on Monday morning, John McLaughlin, Senior Roads Director, said €791,250 was needed to purchase six lorries while sandblasting and repainting was required on 10 older lorries.
€18,000 is also required for “stick on magnets” with the Donegal Co. Council logos to be used as an identification markers for hire vans, while another €18,000 is required for installing a tracking and Bluetooth device on the specialist fleet.
County Manager, Seamus Neeley, said the works was vital to ensure the trucks are up to date for the winter maintenance and salt programme. He said the money for the proposal was “outside the revenue budget” and this money was to come from the capital fund.
John McLaughlin said it “made sense” to replace some of their current fleet as some of the lorries dated back to 1999, with 14 lorries aged tens years old or more. He said there were 21 routes in the winter maintenance programme and it was vital that some of the older lorries were modernised, adding that the money was a different fund to the one used for housing repairs.
However, the councillors clashed over whether or not it was right to spend the large sum of money on the new vehicles, given the “other challenges” facing the Council.
Former Labour councillor, Frank McBrearty, said he couldn’t agree that “almost €1 million of taxpayers money” be spent on new lorries when there is a “serious crisis for housing” ongoing in the county. He suggested that the council hire lorries when needed to “support local business”.
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