There are 143 vehicles and pieces of equipment owned and maintained by the Equipment Division of the New Ulm Street Department. This Division is responsible for the routine maintenance, repair, fuel and scheduled replacement of all City owned equipment and vehicles.
The Equipment Division mechanics perform all the maintenance and repair on the New Ulm Police vehicles, however, the Police Department purchases the fuel and funds the vehicle replacement out of their budget.
Variety of Equipment
There is a wide variety of equipment involved in maintaining City grounds and infrastructure. Many departments within the City require specialized equipment:
- Sewer Maintenance requires a sewer jet / vacuum to clean underground sewer lines.
- The Street Department requires dump trucks that can be used with the paver, pull trailers, haul seal coat aggregate and sweepings in the summer months then be adapted and be used as snow plows with sanders for snow and ice control in the winter.
- There is also equipment that performs the same function but on different scales. Mowers operated by the Park and Recreation Department and City Cemetery range in size from a 21 inch push mower to a 16 foot bat wing mower with several different sizes in between.
- To work as a mechanic in the New Ulm City Garage requires the ability and experience to work on a hand held power tool one moment and a computerized, $100,000 front-end loader the next.
Each vehicle or piece of equipment is assigned to a City department. That department in turn pays a fee to the Equipment Revolving Fund for the use of that equipment or vehicle. This fee includes operational and replacement costs.
By keeping historical maintenance, repair and fuel costs on each unit, an average monthly cost to operate may be calculated over its lifetime. This monthly cost is a part of the fee charged to the user. It is best to calculate this cost near the end of a vehicles life cycle to get a more accurate monthly operational cost. As units are replaced the calculated costs are extended to the new unit, however, these costs are calculated annually and judgements are made as to any fee adjustments required.
A life cycle is applied to each vehicle and piece of equipment. Automobiles and pick-ups may have a 6 to 8 year life cycle with the City, while a motor grader or front-end loader may have a 12 to 15 year life. The key to determining these costs are good historical maintenance records of all costs associated with each and every vehicle and piece of equipment.
Calculating Replacement Cost
To calculate a replacement cost at the end of a unit's life cycle you must first determine the original cost of the unit. This must be the cost before any trade-in allowance. Then determine the number of years you plan to keep the unit. The replacement cost will be the original cost plus an inflation factor for each year it is kept (this is usually 2 to 3%).
To complete the calculation, the value of the replaced unit must be determined and subtracted from the replacement cost (salvage value may be 20% of original purchase price at the end of its life with the City). Now you have the net cost to replace a unit several years from now. It is just a matter of dividing the net cost by the number of months left before replacement to calculate the monthly replacement costs.
The total of the 2 calculations, the monthly operational costs and the monthly replacement costs, is the fee charged to the user department for that one particular unit.