PLYMOUTH – The town will be getting a new Dial-A-Ride wheelchair van, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Mayor David Merchant credited Heidi Caron, Human Services Commission chair, and Vinny Klimas, Housing Authority chair, with getting the grant.
Caron said the current van is six years old, has over 100,000 miles on it, and needed more than $7,000 in repairs last year.
The grant is an 80/20 split, with the state supplying about $55,000 and the town having to come up with $13,600, she explained to the Town Council, which approved the grant.
Between the expected trade-in credit for the old van and some $10,000 the Board of Finance put into this year’s budget in case the grant didn’t come through and the old van needed more repairs, that should be enough to cover the town’s share, Caron said.
They don’t have an appraised value for the old van yet, Klimas said. “If the trade-in is $12,000 or $13,000 then we don’t have to use any of the [maintenance] cash because we won’t have any maintenance on the new vehicle.”
“Do you feel comfortable that we’re going to get more than $3,000 for the van?” asked council member Daniel Gentile.
“Yes,” Klimas said.
“Basically we’re going to be purchasing a van of similar capacity, similar qualities. It will look pretty much the same, but new and so much safer,” Klimas continued. “Right now the van is approaching its safe life cycle, and the new one meets 100 percent of the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] transportation code.”
Klimas said the new van will seat about 10 passengers if there are no wheelchairs on board, but fewer if there are wheelchairs, which take up space and require some seats to be folded back.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.