Grant Covers Half of Shared Tree Truck
WETHERSFIELD - A regional service sharing grant will cover 50 percent of the cost of a $156,000 tree truck that will be utilized by the town of Wethersfield, as well as its neighbors in Newington and Berlin, according to Wethersfield Town Manager Jeff Bridges.

       The Town Council voted unanimously to authorize the CROG grant at its Feb. 3 meeting.

       “Newington, Berlin and Wethersfield already share tree services,” Bridges said before the motion was voted on. “We’ve developed an understanding where our tree crew takes the truck and goes to Berlin and Newington.”

       While Wethersfield has a title of ownership for the truck, an inter-town committee formed made up of the municipalities’ town managers will be formed in order to handle cost-per-hour issues, according to the Council meeting packet. As the town housing the vehicle, Wethersfield will pick up the tab for any routine maintenance and operations and is in charge of billing Newington and Berlin for its share of related expenses.

       Wethersfield’s own tree crew will man the truck, even for work out of town, Bridges said.

       “The truck is a very specialized piece of equipment,” he said. “We train our crew specifically for this, so we felt using this vehicle with our crew was in our best interests.”

       While the service sharing contract expires in 2018, Bridges expects this to be only the first of similar equipment agreements between towns.

       “This is a model for sharing equipment going forward,” Bridges said.

       The contract automatically renews for an additional five years at the end of each period, unless one of the parties opts out, according to the meeting packet.