Activity bus to be added to fleet of new rides

Town manager says the new vehicles will save money

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The town of Mount Olive has seven new vehicles in operation and expects to add 12 others to the fleet, including an activity bus for the recreation department, by the end of July.

Town Manager Charles Brown said the bus is something that has been needed for more than a long time and it should be here “within days.”

In the past, out-of-town activities provided for youngsters and seniors have required the use of rental vans.

Recreation Director Josh Phillips said it was costly, around $100 per rental. The cost limited such activities to a quarterly event, he said, but once the new van arrives that could change dramatically.

Just several months ago the town contracted with a firm in a lease/management agreement to replace the town’s entire vehicular fleet over a five-year period with new vehicles by selling those currently in use.

Seven of the new 2019 vehicles are already on the road and nine of the 12 to come will go to the police department. The other three will include the activity van and a vehicle for the town manager.

The new fleet program is estimated to save the town $300,000 over a 10-year period by nearly wiping out maintenance expenses.

“I want to emphasize again this is not a program aimed at giving everyone a new vehicle, but one that will result in a tremendous amount of tax dollar savings over a period of time,” Brown said.

Under the old system, he added, it was costing the town around $70,000 a year to maintain vehicles that were in poor shape and constantly in the shop. He said that is an issue that will nearly vanish with new vehicles.

The van for the recreation department will also be a big savings, as well as allow recreation officials to increase activities for all ages, Brown said.

“This is something that has been needed forever. Every time an activity is planned that calls for going out of town they have had to rent a van. They provide a lot of activities, particularly for seniors, and it allows them to get out and enjoy something that otherwise they might not be able to do,” the town manager said.

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