Firm will track use of municipal vehicles

Staff Writer

A system to be installed on municipal vehicles in Howell will allow the vehicles’ use to be monitored.

At a recent meeting, the Howell Township Council awarded a contract to Synovia Solutions, LLC, for an automated vehicle tracking system.

The system is designed to manage the fleet’s production and functions, including travel areas, idle times, plow/spreader operation, and more, all for the purposes of improved service delivery, Mayor Bill Gotto said.

According to Township Manager Jeff Mayfield, a vehicle tracking program was purchased in 2011 through the Monmouth County Improvement Authority (MCIA) for $160,000.

“That program did not perform fully to the capacity we were told it would, although it did perform many functions we were looking for, so we were able to use it for a few years. We were able to get out of the contract because it could not fully perform as required.

“We did have to pay $50,236 and that left about $110,000 not spent that had already been funded. Our new vendor is $112,321, so we are going to spend $2,557 more, from previously funded MCIA money that was originally used for the (former vendor),” Mayfield said.

“The new system is also supposed to indicate when plows are in use, or not, and track when sand, salt and brine are being dispersed, or not.

“These are great accountability tools and also help to protect our employees from false accusations, which actually occur on a regular basis, but it also lets the employees know their actions are monitored.

“Going hand-in-hand with accountability is the deterrent effect, which should ensure that im- proper actions and behaviors do not occur to begin with,” Mayfield said. “If it does not perform, we have recourse to not have to pay for it. It will cover all of the civilian fleet, not including the police department.”

The contract was awarded to Synovia Solutions for three years with a two-year option. The decision to go with Synovia was made after lengthy review by a committee that was formed in-house, Mayfield said.

“Based upon the proposed performance and the cost savings, this seems like a very efficient and effective benefit to the town,” he added.

In other action, the committee introduced an ordinance to repeal a law that requires an applicant to post a sign on the proposed site of a development before the application has been approved by the municipality. This is not permitted, according to Township Attorney McKenna Torcivia.

“You cannot require an applicant to post what is proposed in an application if it hasn’t yet been approved. As such, we are removing it. This does not provide residents with less notice,” Torcivia said.

The ordinance will have a public hearing on Dec. 14 and may be adopted by the council following the public hearing.