Nevis street dept. feeling sticker shock

Public Works Supervisor Don Umthun told the city council on Feb. 13 that fleet pricing on a one-ton GM pickup jumped $17,000 in the past five years.

Nevis City Hall. Enterprise file photo.

Current pricing is busting the Nevis public works department’s budget for vehicle replacement.

Public Works Supervisor Dom Umthun told the Nevis City Council on Feb. 13 that he had requested fleet pricing to order a one-ton, regular-cab, long-box pickup truck from Thielen Motors, and they came back with a list price of $49,000.

Umthun compared this result to the $32,000 paid to buy a similar truck five years ago for $32,000. He estimated it would cost about $8,500 to add a new plow to the truck, for a total cost of $57,500.

Umthun noted that the old truck has a Blue Book value of $3,100 to $3,500, not including the plow. He said they could auction it off with the lower-end value as the minimum starting bid, or perhaps ask for a trade-in price from the dealership.

With about $2,500 being set aside per year for vehicle purchases – and with $10,000 currently saved – Umthun said they won’t have enough money to make the purchase at this time.


“We’ve traditionally tried to stay on this,” he said. “We should have been upping that budget number, but hindsight’s 20/20.”

City Administrator clarified that the department has a separate savings account for the pickup truck.

Umthun asked for the council’s direction, noting that if the purchase is delayed another year, the new truck’s price probably won’t go down but the old truck’s trade-in value probably will.

“This will be the fourth time we’ve done this,” he said. “It’s been nice, because then we’ve always had one piece of equipment that’s pretty much new, and if we have something else go down, I can get the streets open.”

He also voiced willingness to look at other options, such as considering a 3/4-ton truck and reusing the current plow for a while and considering other brands. However, he said, while he’s “not married to” the brand, the GM trucks come with the plow and tow packages, and his mechanic says they have a stronger frame than other pickup brands.

“I can definitely try to do some more digging and looking,” he said. “I’m afraid we’re not going to find anything any less.”

Acting Mayor Sue Gray urged Umthun to keep the jump in truck prices in mind during the budgeting process for 2024.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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