Borough, School District Reach Tentative Shared Service Agreement
Fair Lawn School District has struck a verbal agreement with the borough for maintenance of its vehicles.
The school district and the borough have reached a tentative shared service agreement on vehicle maintenance that is expected to benefit both town bodies and save taxpayers money, superintendent Bruce Watson said Tuesday.
Rather than contract with a private garage for school bus maintenance as it has in recent years, the district is prepared to send its fleet to the borough's garage instead.
"We are going to work with them and give it a try," said Watson, who expects the agreement with the borough to be formalized by September. "If it benefits the taxpayer then clearly we both need to roll up our sleeves and try it out and see if it makes sense."
Watson wouldn't commit to a level of expected cost savings until the agreement is up-and-running, but said the borough's cost quotes are less than private garages the district has used in the past.
He said the district, which has its own small auto shop near the high school, will keep minor maintenance items -- like oil changes -- in-house. For bigger vehicles like its 54-passenger buses, however, the borough will perform the servicing.
Borough manager Tom Metzler confirmed the tentative agreement with the school district, but declined to comment on the specifics of the arrangement because he has yet to bring the issue before council for its approval.
Since he took over in Janaury, Metzler has been involved in discussions to better utilize the borough's garage and assume vehicle maintenance responsibilities for a number of neighboring municipalities. To this point, however, no formal agreement has been reached with another town.
If the borough reaches a vehicle maintenance agreement with another town, Metzler said he would likely hire additional mechanics to work an after-hours shift that would both eliminate overtime costs and provide customers a faster turnaround on their vehicle's repair.
For now, however, he said he's likely to stick with his current garage staff level.
"We don’t believe that the volume of work coming over from the Board of Education is going to warrant hiring another mechanic," Metzler said, explaining that his initial recommendation will be to pay one employee overtime until the volume of maintenance required by the school district has been determined.