Council Approves County Highway Truck Purchases

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Council has taken a first step toward approving the purchase of three new Freightliner trucks for the highway department. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says that eight of the trucks in the county’s fleet are more than 15 years old, and many have more than 300,000 miles. He says they are becoming more costly to maintain than to replace. Even though the initial replacement cost is $439,672 for three new vehicles, Ritzler says they would last the county several years. Money for the purchase is in the county highway fund; however, the state requires the appropriation be advertised before it can be spent. Council members approved the advertisement and expect to give final approval to the purchase when they meet in June. Ritzler also told the council he plans to implement a fleet management plan and replace a vehicle each year after this.