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More efficient digs for vehicle facility
Mike Boyd shows off one of the heavy-duty lifts installed in the citys new vehicle maintenance facility. Work on large vehicles like fire engines and refuse trucks had to be done outside at the old facility, which was abandoned a month ago and is set to be torn down. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Mike Boyd has reported to work for nearly 20 years at the City of Manteca’s Vehicle Maintenance Facility.

Even at the time he was hired the building looked like it was from another era. As the city grew and its fleet of vehicles expanded – police cars, garbage trucks, and public works vehicles – so did the amount of major repairs, routine service and routine checks.

Even with a minimal amount of space – work on garbage truck and oversized vehicles had to be done on the outdoor “patio” because of the small size of the building and only a couple of light vehicles could be up in the air at any moment – the work still got done.

Now, as the Lead Vehicle and Equipment Technician, Boyd and his team of mechanics will be able to enjoy the city’s new facility which they’ve occupied for a month.

Dignitaries and city officials officially dedicated the new complex Wednesday morning. Within 20 minutes of the ceremony concluding mechanics were already back in their given work areas tackling the projects that needed to be completed.

But the facility – which was built as part of a $4.5 million contract which also includes the demolition of the old vehicle maintenance facility and the old animal shelter building – serves a purpose beyond just expanding the existing workload and making things much easier for those charged with keeping Manteca’s motors running.

“It’s definitely a boost to efficiency but there’s a big safety aspect that’s there too,” said Boyd. “I remember my first day on the job there was a fire in the welding shop right behind where we were. This is great for employees because it proves a safe place for them to do their jobs and it gives them a much better place to work.”

And they have a big workload.

With over 400 pieces of equipment in the fleet – more than 180 light-duty vehicles, 70 heavy duty vehicles and 181 other pieces of equipment – there are always vehicles that need to be repaired in one way or another.

The average police car is in the shop once every six weeks, and refuse trucks get almost weekly touch ups to keep them running efficiently.

Because of the jobs that they’re used for, the turnaround on each of the vehicles brought in for service – barring any major mechanical overhauls or repairs – is typically 24 hours.

For Boyd that means keeping tabs on each and every one of those cars, trucks, SUVs, fire engines and garbage trucks and making sure that they’re meeting their necessary service schedules.

He’s currently working on getting 69 different vehicles smogged by the end of the year – something that the city doesn’t do itself – and says he has to make sure that the mandatory Highway Patrol inspections are carried out for certain vehicles and others get the touch-ups they need.

Deputy Director of Public Works Jim Stone, who oversees the work at the site, believes that the project shows that Manteca is serious about both safety and providing the best for its residents.

“It was a good time to build it with the economy – we really got a good price,” he said. “I think that it’s an investment in the city and it’s going to make things more efficient and effective as we move forward. We really have a good crew here and they’ve been working in a space that’s been anything but friendly.

“This is something that’ll make things easier and hopefully more productive as time goes on.”