ITHACA, N.Y. — A subcommittee of Tompkins County legislators approved the Highway Division’s request for $141,725 after a head-on collision in June totaled a county dump truck.
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The measure now heads to the the Budget and Finance Committee and the Tompkins County Legislature, and will need to be ratified by both in order to pass.
On June 25, the dump truck, which is also used to plow snow in the winter, was on Route 96 hauling material for road repairs after severe storms hit Newfield and Danby. According to Jeffrey Smith, Tompkins County’s highway director, an oncoming car crossed the center line and collided with the truck.
“It would have been a lot worse if [the truck driver] hadn’t made an evasive action and veered off the side of the road,” said Smith, who added that the truck driver was not seriously injured, but the other car’s driver and a passenger were taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
According to the Highway Division, the cost of a new truck is nearly $210,000, but the county’s insurance provider is reimbursing about $68,000.
The Highway Division also recommends buying the truck back for $15,000 and using its remaining parts for future replacements on other county vehicles. Smith noted that the tires on the truck are worth about $5,000 themselves.
The proposal asks for the money to be transferred to the Highway Machinery Vehicle’s account from the Highway Fund Balance. Smith said the Highway Fund Balance acts like a reserve: “If we have a mild winter, … a drop in fuel prices or not as much breaking down of equipment, we don’t have to spend those funds,” he said.
In the request for the transfer, Smith wrote that not purchasing a new truck would compromise “the availability and effectiveness of performing road and snow and ice maintenance.”
Smith said in years where an “unplanned emergency” like this occurs, the Highway Division must make a funding request to keep Ithaca’s streets repaired and, during the winter, clear of snow.
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