BLOOMFIELD, NJ — It is August, but time and tide wait for no man and with that in mind, the Bloomfield Department of Public Works and Parks is thinking snow. At its Orange Street garage, winter is around the corner.
“It’s begun,” DPW director Anthony Nesto said earlier this week. “It was 90 degrees and there was preparations for snow. We start the process in late July to get 30-plus vehicles ready to plow. We’re doing two to three trucks a week.”
About the only vehicles that are not being prepared for snow are two garbage trucks, two sewer trucks and two street sweepers. But the Mason trucks, which are smaller dump trucks; big dump truck; and loaders and being readied. A loader is a vehicle with a large shovel attachment. They are seen on wintry streets scooping up snow and dumping it away from traffic or into trucks to be hauled away.
“Loaders we use at a crosswalk radius, in cul-de-sacs and small dead ends,” Nesto said. “The last thing we want is a freak October storm and not being ready for it.”
But it is not just the change of seasons. It is always busy at the DPW. The department is responsible for over 200 municipal vehicles. For example, every Tuesday some Bloomfield Police Department patrol cars have an oil change. And Nesto pointed out that with some vehicles, like those in the police department, the number of miles a car has been driven is not an accurate indication for an oil change. Some vehicles, like those in BPD and DPW vehicles, do a lot of necessary idling.
There is plenty of opportunity for a break down. The DPW has between 20 to 25 vehicles on the road every day and 405 streets. Measured end-to-end, the distance would be 104 miles. Ninety of those miles are the responsibility of the township. The balance of 14 miles is county roadway.
“Bloomfield is 5.4 square miles,” Nesto said. “There are 19,000 dwellings.”
And if there is a complaint from a resident that a DPW truck was going over the speed limit, Nesto said each vehicle is equipped with a GPS that has a memory recording date, time and speed. The resident’s complaint can be verified by inputting the date and time of the alleged infraction.
There is also a newly installed fleet management app to help maintain the DPW vehicles and nip problems in the bud. According to Joe Testa, the electric department supervisor who now also supervises the garage since Joe Condito retired, the app sends him an email when something is wrong with the vehicle.