Standing in front of one of Hempstead Town’s motor-vehicle-maintenance facilities in East Meadow, Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced the consolidation of the government’s car/truck maintenance garages, along with other operational changes, which is focused on cutting costs and increasing efficiency. America’s largest township projects to save over $1 million annually through the initiative. Joining Santino at the announcement were Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Gary Hudes, and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.
“Challenging government to do more with less has been a top priority for me as town supervisor,” stated Santino. “By drastically reducing the number of service garages operated by the town and as a result of putting other operational changes in place, Hempstead Town will become more efficient and reduce governmental costs that are borne by taxpayers.”
The town is reducing the number of service garages from 16 to 2. Further, the township is implementing work shifts that will ensure staff coverage during the evening and on weekends. Accordingly, Hempstead’s government will be able to curtail overtime costs for evening and weekend vehicle repairs during snowstorms, summer parks department concerts, beach activities, and other programs that can result in the need for motor-vehicle repair, towing, and related services. The two facilities that will be retained for vehicle maintenance and repair are located at the town’s Water Department in East Meadow and the municipality’s sanitation operation in Merrick. The garages that will be deactivated span the township, including sites from the city line in Inwood to the Oyster Bay border in Seaford.
In addition to reducing the number of garages that will be operational, the township will centralize its inventory management of motor-vehicle parts and equipment. Under the program, fewer tools will be needed (vehicle lifts, tire-mounting units, welding supplies, air tools, hand tools, specialized equipment), greater accountability for time and productivity will result, and better “loss prevention” will be realized with respect to motor-vehicle parts and inventory. Officials also noted that centralized ordering of parts will result in less duplication, fewer errors, and better overall control. Finally, the town is assessing the prospective value of excess equipment (vehicle lifts, tire-mounting equipment, etc.), and will consider auctioning those items.
Santino detailed the areas of cost savings under his consolidation program, discussing four main areas of concentration:
Equipment Inventory: $500,000. The town will implement a unified inventory system and will eliminate duplication, reduce excess inventory, prevent ordering errors, and more efficiently control utilization of inventory.
Reduction of Utility Costs at Facilities: $250,000. The town will dramatically curtail utility costs (electric, gas, water) at the 14 garages that will no longer be utilized for vehicle maintenance.
Labor Cost Savings: $150,000. The town will experience avoided salary costs, benefits, and overtime from more timely effective staff scheduling and staff redeployment due to facilities consolidation.
Routine Fleet Maintenance Program: $200,000. More timely routine fleet maintenance will result in avoided major repairs.
The town previously had 127 vehicle repair bays at the 16 service garages across the town. In contrast, the two remaining service garages will provide 29 service bays. Additionally, a crew of 95 mechanics and support staff were utilized at the 16 service centers, whereas 60 mechanics and other workers will staff the two revamped vehicle service facilities under the consolidation initiative. Attrition and redeployment of support staff to other function areas throughout the town will accommodate an efficient transition of personnel.
The disused garages will be assessed to ensure that they will be utilized in the most effective manner. Some will be used for storage, and other appropriate uses are being explored.
In addition to major cost savings that have been projected by the township, other prospective areas of reduced costs have also been identified. The town will be reviewing cost reductions associated with having waste oil and anti-freeze removed from two facilities as opposed to 16 locations. Also, Nassau County Health Department and State DMV permitting costs should shrink with the reduction in the number of facilities in use. Finally, the sale of excess equipment is anticipated to result in a one-time revenue influx of up to $50,000.
“Saving taxpayers money and running government more efficiently are among my key objectives,” concluded Santino. “Today, we are ‘carpooling’ our vehicle maintenance operations and saving taxpayers $1 million.”