Supply chain issues affect plow purchase

Village officials had expected to buy a new snowplow for $190,000 and have it delivered this year.

Now, the Peterbilt Model 578 will cost $220,134 — 16 percent more — and not be available until the second quarter of 2023.

“The manufacturer has informed public services that lead times and prices have drastically increased due to supply chain issues,” Trustee Neale Byrnes said at Tuesday’s Hinsdale Village Board meeting. “Not a surprise with everything that is going on in the news.”

The new plow is intended to replace Truck No. 5, which the village purchased in 2003. Truck No. 5 is a three-ton truck with a dump body, plow, auger box and spreader and is used for snow and ice removal in the winter and dry material hauling in the summer.

The department’s equipment replacement schedule calls for new plows to be purchased every 12-15 years. Truck No. 4 is due to be replaced next year.

“It looks like the best thing to do is buy both trucks now for delivery in 2023,” Byrnes said.

Village President Tom Cauley questioned whether that is the best approach, seeing as supply chain issues eventually will be resolved.

“We’re going to pay $60,000 or $70,000 more by buying two trucks now, which is probably, I would guess, the absolute worst time to buy something, when there is a higher demand and less supply because of the supply chain issues,” he said.

He suggested buying one truck this year, holding onto Truck No. 5 and waiting to buy a replacement for Truck No. 4 until next year.

“Hopefully prices will come down by then,” he said. “If not, we’ve got a backup truck in case we have a problem.”

Trustee Luke Stifflear said he’s not opposed to waiting but wonders if the village will save any money.

“I don’t think we should set the expectation that prices will come down because they very well may not,” he said.

George Peluso, director of public services, said he doesn’t think the village wants to wait more than 19 years to replace a plow, but he is not expecting any major issues during the wait.

“We think we can do this winter and probably next winter without any issues,” he said, suggesting the village order one plow now and check prices again in six months. Cauley and other trustees agreed.

“We’ll see where we’re at this summer with prices,” Peluso said. “It’s such an unpredictable economy right now. What we’re hearing from the truck makers is it’s actually going to get worse before it gets better. The steel prices are really phenomenal right now.”

The board is expected to take an official vote authorizing the purchase at its Jan. 18 meeting. The order must be placed by Jan. 20 to get the $220,134 price.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean