New Rochelle DPW Putting Illegal Garbage Trucks on the Road

Written By: Robert Cox

Garbage Truck Inspection Sticker 2Two New Rochelle garbage trucks are in service despite expired New York State inspection stickers. Some drivers are refusing to drive the trucks for feat of being ticketed. Under New York State law the operator of the vehicle, not the owner, is charged for operating a vehicle without a valid inspection sticker.

Garbage truck 55 and 56 both have expired inspection stickers.

They have not been inspected because the vehicles would not pass inspection, sources say. There are a number of other DPW vehicles that have valid inspection stickers but would not pass inspection either, according to these same sources.

Garbage Truck Inspection Sticker 1

Garbage Truck Inspection Sticker 3

This is hardly a unique occurrence in New Rochelle. This spring Talk of the Sound reported on an illegal garbage truck operated by the New Rochelle Board of Education: New Rochelle School District Failed to Register Red Garbage Truck For Five Years

Talk of the Sound has learned that a garbage truck, the only red garbage truck in the City or School District fleet, was never registered by the School District and was driven for years without proper registration, license plates or insurance.

The registration and plates on the vehicle were registered to the Village of Pelham Manor, NY. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that the truck was purchased five years ago from Pelham Manor. For reasons that are unclear the transfer of ownership of the truck was never done.

Sanitation drivers are being told that based on an understanding with the City of New Rochelle, New Rochelle police will not ticket them for operating the illegal vehicles. The drivers are not satisfied with that solution pointing out they still have to leave the city limits to carry loads to waste transfer centers, the vehicle are unsafe and if there is an accident there may be significant legal consequences for the driver and the City of New Rochelle.

The photo above was taken Saturday. Sanitation workers have been working overtime on Saturdays for well over a month. Routes have once again been cut from 9 to 8. Meanwhile, overtime has been capped for the New Rochelle Fire Department with the result that Ladder 12 is often out of service including the night of the Christmas Tree fire on Lincoln Avenue.

Mayor Noam Bramson’s hybrid garbage truck, affectionately known as the BramsonMobile, has never delivered on promised results – costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and delivering almost zero improvement in fuel efficiency. The statement on the City web site, from more than two years ago, is a forward looking, imagined scenario which never came into being and is now woefully out-of-date and largely inaccurate.

In September 2009, the City of New Rochelle inaugurated its first hybrid diesel-electric sanitation truck. It picks up refuse in the north and south ends of the City, collects paper recycling citywide, and will also be used for seasonal snow removal.

Unlike other diesel-electric hybrid systems which feature an in-line (series) technology, the plug-in parallel hybrid system adopted by the City of New Rochelle allows for the vehicle to work off electric power on demand as an alternative to the usual diesel power. The modularity of its design enables installation into existing vehicles as well as into new vehicles. The benefits of a plug-in operation include significant fuel savings and a 50% reduction in emissions of particulates and hydrocarbons. Additionally, the vehicle will run more quietly and require less maintenance.

The vehicle has routinely been out of service, mostly operates without the hybrid electrical system engaged when is in service and is now “dead” with a completely blown engine, according to sources familiar with the vehicle.

In June, 2010 the City Council discussed the Hybrid Vehicle in what turned out to be one of DPW Commissioner Jeff Coleman’s appearances before the City Council. Coleman left soon after the Westchester County District Attorney began investigating his department resulting in a 66-Count fraud indictment for the DPW Fleet Manager.

In the discussion the City Manager and DPW Commissioner acknowledge they have just delivered a written report to the Council on the hybrid garbage truck the week before but neither can remember the cost of the vehicle or the resulting “savings” claimed in the report. Even though the DPW Fleet is on the agenda for a discussion of the Mayor’s ICLEI-inspired GreeNR plan, Coleman has no information about the only “green” garbage truck in the DPW fleet.


The week before the City Council meeting on June 15, 2010 Talk of the Sound reported that at a cost of $150,000 to retro-fit the garbage truck with a hybrid electric motor, the payback period for the vehicle would be about 120 years.

…if the truck is getting between 2.1 and 2.3 MPG and going about 36 miles in a day the truck uses about 16 gallons per day. In a typical month there are about 22 work days. If the truck is magically never taken out of service it will consume a maximum of about 350 gallons a month. If EMD is correct and there is a 10% increase in fuel efficiency the converted truck saves about 35 gallons a month.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that diesel fuel is selling for about $3.00 per gallon, so that is about $105 a month in savings.

Over the course of a year that comes out to $1,260 on fuel cost savings.

Cost to Convert Vehicle/Years Until Break-Even

if $50,000 = 40 years.

if $100,000 = 80 years.

if $150,000 = 120 years.

if $200,000 = 160 years.

The report for the company that did the work falsely claims “The vehicle has been used in continuous service for over 9 months with no interruptions other than scheduled maintenance and inspection of the Hybrid system.”

In fact, the vehicle was then and has been ever since routinely out of service due to mechanical failure and problems with the electrical system.

16 thoughts on “New Rochelle DPW Putting Illegal Garbage Trucks on the Road”

  1. This is anything but…

    GREEN!!!! The safety and emissions inspection is designed to among  other things insure that the exhaust is properly filtering out damaging gasses that impact the fragile ozone layer.

    I thought that our mayor was a staunch advocate of a "Greener" City. While privatization could be a remedy that is long overdue, considering the the DPW guys "work" collecting garbage on such limited of the bigget shams in the city.

    The crew is limited in manpower, and I would make a safe assumption that those not given contracts to work for whatever private sanitation company comes in, the remainder can be absorbed into another department that is skelatal and comprable in terms of their work.


  2. MadBomber

    The Journal News going to Facebook brings the MadBomber to Talk of the Sound.

    Thus their loss is our gain.

    Bombs away. I think you should do a DUI report and report on all the local DUI's in the Journal as you say it as you mean..

  3. Beware Local 663

    Who is doing the inspections????

    Most municipal fleets have a fleet license allowing them to inspect their own vehicles. If they are being done by  an outside inspection station it is clear the city knows these vehicles are unsafe and should be taken off the road immediately. In my opinion this is the beginning of a scam to move towards privatization which Bramson proposed as a councilman. The cost of union workers and the cost of vehicles and maintenance is much more than privatizing garbage collection. Beware Local 663!

    1. What would be the harm with

      What would be the harm with privatizing NR's garbage collection?  Private haulers would probably use 1 man trucks, wouldn't have over generous pension plans and go to 1 a week pick-up.

      1. privatizing

        Fifth, you should run for office. You make a point that will not be considered because it would disturb the fee revenue reliance of the city on budgets.

        But, a consortium of cooperative and condominium owners has written City Hall vehemently protesting the incredible increase in the refuse fee and it has been signed by many managing agents and attorneys involved in the City. Leading attorneys seem to be the Finger brothers and I am looking further into this now.

        I do suspect that if something isn't done they will initiate a lawsuit citing, among other things, fairness and equity, disproportionate response, etc… stay tuned.

        Letter was sent last week. Problem from our end is that if this consortium manages to effect a change, it probably will lead to revisiting earlier decisions on the budget perhaps affecting firefighters. If so, suggest we prepare to insists our council members explore the most obvious actions such as cutting exempt salaries, dismissing management staff, etc.

        Don't know how far this will get, but also wonder how the "manna from heaven" known as the NYS refiguring of the budget expenses for health premiums, etal will go.

        These are examples of the sorts of things that I consistedly raise on (1) doing something with the relationship with the school district, (2) focusing on building a small business climate in downtown New Rochelle, (3) challenging the management of the City Code, etc. They may seem boring to most, but they substantially define where we are as a community now.

        Add budget skills and and thinking outside the fiscal box to the list. Fee income and grant revenues mean little and are, like in the former case, often punishing when tickets are handed out with abandon, signage is abused, inspections are designed to punish city businesses and not correct flaws, etc.

        This is the battleground for 2012. If the Council doesn't see it, pick up any newspaper today and see how people like you and I and the rest of the readers handle such things and react.

        As always an intelligent post on your part

      2. Charge dorm rooms $223 refuse fee

        How about charging the $223 refuse fee to every dorm room? Should raise at least $100K and as the colleges expand so does the new recurring revenue. Strome and Bramson will poo-poo this as inconsequential but the real reason is Iona has Bramson in their back pocket. Just look at the dorm committee which is so qualified that they are handcuffed because they can not debate whether expansion is necessary. They are starting from Iona's dictated position and most are hand picked Bramson supporters/donors.

      3. I didn’t say get rid of the

        I didn't say get rid of the Department of Public Works, only the portion that involves garbage collection. 

        But knowing New Rochelle and Bramson's love to spend money, they'll probably handle it like the library tax, you know create a new tax (in this case we already have the tax) to pay for something yet not reduce the budget that it was taken from by 1 red cent.  I don't think I'd support that, how could anyone?   

      4. ok but

        The city uses the garbage trucks to remove snow by putting plows on the front of them.

      5. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but NR has no will

        Doesn't the city have any dump trucks it can use?  Pick-up trucks might also work.  Where there's a will, there's a way, but NR has no will so we can't find the way. 

        You actually don't see many garbage trucks outfitted with plows, in NYC yes but not many others. 

    2. It could be that

      It could be that they don't pass Emissions and not for safety, any  way they don't belong on the road…. that's correct.

  4. I guess city hall is above the law after all.

    Don't know if its changed, but they were also using the old liberty plates for the longest time.  I guess city hall is above the law after all. 

    1. Time for evaluations on all levels

      They were saving us money. The new plates cost you extra when you renew your registration. Imagine how many new Hybrid trucks they can buy with the savings. I just had the leaf crew go up my street. It was a crew of five or six workers in all. One was a DPW garbage truck, one Payloader, one leaf blower, one guy using a rake to stand up, one Traffic pick- up truck I guess he is to protect the rake guy in case he falls down and then the spare DPW truck if they have too many leaves. I say this only because back in September before we had any leaves yet, I had a crew of ten come up my street for a pile of leaves that wouldn’t fill the pick-up truck. With safety in mind there are more cost effective ways of doing this if someone would just look at what needs to be done from all sides. Time and job management evaluations need to be done on all levels. That goes for all the work force including those in City Hall. If everyone looked at things as if it were their own money I am sure things would be different.

    1. A Shout Out for the Mad Bomber

      you are a positive addition here to my view. bombs away! little rough but very ready.

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