SCOTTSBLUFF — Lead mechanic Wayne Lund likes to say that he and mechanic Tony King will take on anything from weed eaters to motor graders.
Lund and King staff the City of Scottsbluff Central Garage where they’re responsible for maintenance, repair and upkeep on the city’s 225-unit fleet. They can’t replace engines and aren’t certified to work on booms such as the ones used by the fire department and street department. Outside of that, it’s pretty much an open shop for all equipment.
“Working in here, we learn something new every day,” Lund said. “We’re still learning. New cars come out with new ways to work on them. We don’t get a lot of training on the new stuff, so we’ve just kind of got to figure it out on our own.”
King said the variety of on-the-job, on-the-fly training keeps them on their toes.
“You learn a lot,” he said, pointing at a Ford police patrol unit in the shop. “It’s not like a Ford mechanic where you work on Fords all the time. We’ve got to learn OTJ every day, and a lot of times there’s no manual to work from. It’s a challenge. Keeps it interesting.”
Lund said police cars are interesting to work on if you like a lot of electrical wiring. Lund and King both said the garbage trucks were their least favorite to work on, but that’s just because of the nature of what comes along with those units.
“You just don’t want to climb in the back of one of those things in mid-August,” King said, pointing to a truck behind him in the shop and telling about changing out a cargo floor in one.
Emergency response vehicles such as police cars and fire trucks are prioritized to get them back on the street. When a snowstorm is expected, they try to leave the shop as empty as possible just in case a snow plow goes down and needs to get back on the road.
Public Works Director Mark Bohl said the system keeps a better watch on maintenance of the vehicles. The city had a central garage in the past, then got somewhat away from it until 2013 when it was revised and a new shop was built with the goal being to keep the city’s equipment on the streets and serving its purpose.