Town officials plan to introduce two electric vehicles to its municipal fleet in 2019, one for the police department and the other to the water and sewer department. The decision was spurred by rebate opportunities offered by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); due to a grant from the DEC last year, Saugerties’ electric car charging stations are free for users until October of 2019.
In the case of the police department, NYSERDA’s rebate, according to their website, covers up to $2,000 of the purchased vehicle, provided that it is fully electric. The DEC’s rebate covers $2,500 on hybrids and $5,000 for vehicles with electric range over 50 miles. Purchasing two municipal electric cars will give the town four points toward the Climate Smart Communities Grant Program, an incentive program that rewards points gained when municipalities do something eco-friendly that can be redeemed for grant opportunities.
“The water and sewer department is going to get the compact hatchback — that car will be fully electric and that car will be used in lieu of one the heavy trucks for daily touring inspections of satellite treatment facilities,” explained Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. “Right now they use a heavy truck for that responsibility. There will be significant savings. For example, you can put new tires on these cars for less than a thousand bucks, as opposed to the old four-wheel drive vehicle which could cost five to eight thousand bucks.”
In the case of the police department, Police Chief Joseph Sinagra’s Dodge Charger, which is already outfitted with all of the required police equipment, will be switched out for a police specialty Ford hybrid. The Ford, Sinagra said, isn’t a pursuit vehicle that could be used by a patrolling officer — however, he hopes that eventually, detectives and administrators in the department will also be issued hybrid vehicles in the future.
“In my 31 years of policing we’ve never had electric vehicles — this is going to be interesting. I’m sure it’ll be a learning curve for all of us,” said Sinagra. “We’re providing a better environment for everyone in the community, and we’re trying to decrease the department footprint. We’re going to look at the opportunities to get an electric vehicle. This is the first step toward that mission.”