May 22

How Upper Mount Bethel Township Navigated Supply Chain Issues and Sold a 2025 Mack with Troy Bartron and Cindy Beck

In the heart of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, lies Upper Mount Bethel Township. Spread across 107 miles of roads, this rural community is home to 7,000 residents and is known by some as the gateway to the Poconos. The picturesque township is managed by a dedicated team of public servants who work tirelessly to maintain infrastructure, support residents, all while navigating the ever-changing landscape of municipal management. 

The township’s team includes Cindy Beck, the office secretary, and Troy Bartron, an equipment operator and mechanic. Troy offered plenty of insight into the world of rural municipal governance and the innovative strategies employed to ensure the best possible outcomes for the community.

Preserving History and Creating a Community Park

On one side of the township are the Pocono Mountains, also called the Poconos, hence the gateway nickname. The mountains are made up of beautiful forests, lakes, and valleys. The beautiful display of nature extends from there all the way out to Upper Mount Bethel Township. On the other side is the Delaware River, which has historic roots dating back to the founding of the country. Surrounded by nature, there’s no wonder the township looks quite scenic.

There’s a 60-acre scenic park residents enjoy, which is open year-round. Residents often put on parades for holidays like Memorial Day or July 4. When not celebrating, there’s a vineyard to visit, along with some breweries.

There’s no question Upper Mount Bethel Township’s commitment to its residents extends beyond the realm of fleet maintenance and asset management. The township is also actively engaged in preserving its rich history and creating new amenities for the community to enjoy. One significant project currently underway is renovation of the 60-acre park, which was once a thriving dairy farm.

“Right now we’re doing a major sewer septic system installment in our park. We have approximately a 60-acre park for the people of Upper Mount Bethel Township. And it’s been a long time coming with bathrooms and a septic system for our park.” - Troy Bartron

With the township’s limited finances, this project relies on a combination of grants, donations, and township funds.

Troy Bartron and Cindy Beck from Upper Mount Bethel Township

Cindy Beck and Troy Bartron from Upper Mount Bethel Township

 Troy Bartron and more of the Upper Mount Bethel Township crew

Ash Borer Kill Trees and Impact Public Safety

Naturally, managing a rural community is not without its challenges. Upper Mount Bethel Township has faced its fair share of obstacles, including severe weather events that have impacted road maintenance schedules.

One of the most significant challenges in recent years has been the aftermath of a severe ash borer infestation, which killed countless ash trees throughout the township. The dead trees pose a significant risk to public safety and infrastructure, as they are prone to falling onto roads and power lines. The township has had to divert significant resources to address this issue, which has impacted their ability to tackle other projects, for example, their preservation master plan.

“We do have one road that we're going to shave the bank because it's very steep and we get a lot of trees falling. In this area here also we have a lot of ash trees that constantly fall. They were ridden with a disease and every ash tree in our area has died, probably two, three years ago.”

“It's very severe. There was a bug, an ash borer, that came through and killed all these trees. So that's an ongoing project, but typically we have our projects picked out through the year between paving, mowing, and then cutting shoulders, and then we do a road treatment which we call it tar and chip.” - Troy Bartron

Fleet Maintenance and Management

Upper Mount Bethel Township excels in the maintenance and management of its fleet and equipment. With a team of skilled mechanics like Troy, the township has developed a robust preventive maintenance schedule to ensure their vehicles and equipment remain in top condition.

For heavy equipment like loaders and backhoes, the township conducts regular service every 500 hours of operation. Trucks, on the other hand, undergo preventive maintenance every 4,000 to 5,000 miles, or as needed based on driver reports. This approach has helped minimize downtime and extend the lifespan of the township's assets.

"We're still seeing some issues because, you know, we're looking at the future equipment right now and we want to maybe rent or lease equipment for jobs we're doing. And we can't even get that type of equipment, you know, they're just not available." - Troy Bartron

When issues arise that cannot be addressed in-house, Upper Mount Bethel Township has cultivated strong relationships with local dealers and mechanics who provide prompt, reliable service. This network of support is crucial for a rural township, where access to specialized repair services may be limited.

A beautiful day at a Community Park in Upper Mount Bethel Township


Navigating Supply Chain Issues

One striking example of Upper Mount Bethel Township's innovative asset management is their recent sale of a brand new 2025 Mack truck. The vehicle had just 56 miles on it and sold for $200,000! As Troy explained, the decision to sell the truck was not made lightly. The township ordered several trucks years in advance to replace their aging fleet, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a strike at Mack, the delivery of those vehicles was significantly delayed. When the 2025 truck arrived earlier than expected, the township found itself in a position where selling the vehicle was the most fiscally responsible choice.

“We do a lot of road work and our oldest trucks are 2007s, you know, with over 100,000 miles on them, costing us a lot of money to keep them together.”

“Well, since COVID, it's been so hard to get equipment, whether it be a truck or a loader, you know, cab and chassis.”

“And we also purchased other equipment that failed on us sooner than we thought. So with that being said, our only option was to sell one of the surplus trucks. So that way we would keep our equipment fund equal, you know, for the rainy day fund type thing.” - Troy Bartron

Thankfully, by relying on Municibid for this sale and others, the township has been able to maximize returns on taxpayer investments and adapt to the challenges posed by supply chain disruptions.

2025 Mack truck sold by the Upper Mount Bethel Township 

Innovation in Surplus Asset Management

On the other hand, divesting of their surplus has not been a major problem. Liquidation has been made easier through resources like Municibid.

“I worked at several municipalities where I was before. We would advertise it in a local paper and get bids that way, which cost us sometimes more money than what we're trying to sell was worth. Depends on the equipment.”

“And then at the same time, they used to have combined municipal auctions where local municipalities would get together, bring their equipment to one location, hire one auctioneer, and then they would sell it that way. Once every two years or every five years. But then, same thing, if you didn't have a reserve on your equipment or if it's an absolute sale, you couldn't protect your equipment.”

“It made it difficult for people to bring something that... Just say, for instance, you wanted $5,000 for it and it only sold for $1,000, you know what I mean? So how do you come back to the board and say, that's all we got for it?” - Troy Bartron

Now, the Upper Mount Bethel Township serves as an example for streamlining the sale of surplus while maximizing funds. The municipality is making the most on returns of taxpayer investments while ensuring that surplus equipment finds new life in other municipalities or private enterprises.

Conclusion

Upper Mount Bethel Township's story is one of innovation and dedication to community. Through Troy and Cindy’s insights, other rural municipalities can gain a deeper understanding into the challenges or opportunities they face, along with creative strategies to employ while navigating the ever-changing landscape of government surplus.

Whatever you decide to do as a municipality, Troy is certain selling surplus through Municibid is a must.

“I highly recommend going this route because it really doesn't cost the municipalities anything, which is great. The buyer pays the fees and it's very simple to take pictures and list your equipment. There's nothing difficult about it at all.

The website's very user-friendly, for both parties, people looking at equipment and versus people selling equipment.” - Troy Bartron

Looking to sell your municipal fleet or equipment? See for yourself the results Municibid can give to your municipality, create your seller account today.

Transcript »

Greg Berry (0:08 - 0:31)

Join us as we dive into the wild world of government auctions and take you behind the scenes to uncover the cool and unique ways bidders from across America are utilizing items they've won on Municibid, like an ambulance repurposed into a work truck, to a city bus converted into an RV, and so much more. Welcome to the Municibid Podcast.

Sophie Eden

Hi, Troy.

How are you doing today?

Troy Bartron (0:31 - 0:32)

I'm doing good. How are you?

Sophie Eden (0:33 - 0:42)

Doing wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us on this call today. Can you start us off by introducing yourself?

Troy Bartron (0:42 - 0:54)

I'm Troy Bartron, Upper Mount Bethel Township equipment operator, mechanic, and next to me is Cindy Beck. She is the office secretary.

Sophie Eden (0:54 - 1:01)

And can you tell us more about Mount Bethel Township and what your township is like?

Troy Bartron (1:01 - 1:22)

Our township is a very rural township, 7,000 residents, 107 miles of road. Very rural setting, I would say. Many dairy farms in the area back in the day, now there's only one left, so it's spreading out with a lot of people.

Sophie Eden (1:23 - 1:26)

And, what's your community's claim to fame?

Troy Bartron (1:26 - 1:41)

Basically the gateway to the Poconos, because we were just a couple miles from the New Jersey toll bridge, and a lot of people come across to visit Northampton County and the Poconos.

Sophie Eden (1:42 - 1:49)

And, what's a little known fact about your township that you'd like people to know about?

Troy Bartron (1:49 - 2:12)

Basically, rural community. You know what I mean? We're minutes from the toll bridge, a lot of people live here and commute elsewhere to work, you know, because there's not a lot of jobs in the area, but it's a great place to live and not far to travel to the city. Whether it be New Jersey or New York or Stroudsburg.

Sophie Eden (2:12 - 2:45)

Very nice small town community feel, like everyone knows each other, a lot of people, the families are growing up together and you're all familiar with each other, and that's wonderful. I'm excited to talk about the 2025 Mack that you recently sold on Municibid. So can you tell me the story behind this truck?

Why did you get it and why did you decide to sell it?

Troy Bartron (2:45 - 4:53)

Well, since COVID, it's been so hard to get equipment, whether it be a truck or a loader, you know, cab and chassis. So our board of supervisors, ordered two maybe four years ago, and we were still waiting for them. And in the meantime, with the price of materials and getting equipment still problematic and our fleet getting old, we decided to order more trucks.

And we also hired more people in a very busy township and, you know, we do a lot of road work and our oldest trucks are 2007s, with over 100,000 miles on them, costing us a lot of money to keep them together. So we went ahead and ordered the trucks and now Mack went on strike. So now we're even behind the eight ball farther. We could not get cab and chassis. So with our order, and then the economy got better, people getting back to work since COVID, they were able to fill our order faster than we really wanted to receive it.

And we also purchased other equipment that failed on us sooner than we thought. So with that being said, our only option was to sell one of the surplus trucks. So that way we would keep our equipment fund equal, you know, for the rainy day fund type thing.

So with that being said, you know, we were very skeptical of putting it on there, but that was our first option to choose because we've been very successful with Municibid selling and buying for our township, you know, with the best interest of the township. That was the way to go, you know, and then we have stats here, you know, with what we have bought and sold has been successful. And I don't know about you, like I say, it was probably one of the highest dollar items we have ever put on Municibid.

And probably one of yours also, right?

Sophie Eden (4:54 - 5:09)

I'd say probably one of the newest trucks we've ever had. I mean, we're just about middle 2024. And so seeing a 2025 Mack truck, it's like, wow, we've kind of jumped into the future with the newest of the new.

Troy Bartron (5:09 - 5:11)

Yeah. With 56 miles on it, right?

Sophie Eden (5:12 - 5:28)

Right. Yeah. Just driving it to your township, right?

And that's it. All the driving that it's seen so far. Yeah. That's incredible. So why were you skeptical about selling this 2025 Mack truck?

Troy Bartron (5:29 - 6:07)

Because of the amount that we needed to recoup for that truck, you know, and we know Municibid is very popular among other townships, municipalities, boroughs, throughout the state, plus where else it hits, you know what I mean? Even out of state. And you know, with the technology we have today with the computers, you know, when you look at something, it comes up on your feet automatically, you know what I mean?

So really, it reaches a lot of people faster any other way than, you know, if you put in a newspaper, you know, it would never sell in a newspaper.

Sophie Eden (6:08 - 6:41)

Wonderful. I'm very glad to hear that. And that's certainly what we're looking to do with, especially supporting smaller townships and giving you that reach of a broader audience.

So can you tell me a bit more about what the procurement process was like? Does that take a long time and have a lot of steps involved with deciding what trucks, which equipment you need, and then going through to fill out the order?

Troy Bartron (6:42 - 7:08)

Yes, on my end, we, the guys on the road department, we establish a little committee, whether it be two guys or three guys. And then we sit with the manager and we talk about equipment that we're going to need now and in the future. And the manager sets the budget and he tells us what is available to spend.

You know, you never want to spend all your money.

Sophie Eden (7:08 - 7:08)

Of course not.

Troy Bartron (7:09 - 7:59)

So we have to stretch it as far as we can, you know, it's the taxpayer's dollars and spend it the best way. So then at the same time, we do that. Then we call in what we call dealers and upfitters.

Then we spec the truck out and they get back with quotes. You know, and we use multiple upfitters and dealers that are on the COSTARS program. And then we select the low bidder with the best price that meets our needs.

Then we submit it to the board of supervisors, which we have five. Then they make the ultimate decision. Then once they make the decision, then we will revisit it with the lowest bidder and make the arrangements to proceed with the deal.

Sophie Eden (8:00 - 8:13)

And, are you seeing now in 2024 that things are getting better with the supply chain and being able to get what you need or are you still seeing some issues?

Troy Bartron (8:14 - 8:50)

We're still seeing some issues because, you know, we're looking at the future equipment right now and we want to maybe rent or lease equipment for jobs we're doing. And we can't even get that type of equipment, you know, they're just not available. Dealers in our area, one big dealer that we deal with was sold and bought by another equipment dealer.

So inventory was very low and, you know, things are just starting to get better with them. But there's so many jobs in the area with our interstate going on that makes it difficult.

Sophie Eden (8:50 - 8:59)

So tell me more about what are the projects that you're working on that you're using these trucks and equipment for?

Troy Bartron (8:59 - 10:00)

Right now we're doing a major sewer septic system installment in our park. We have approximately a 60-acre park for the people of Upper Mount Bethel Township. And it's been a long time coming with bathrooms and a septic system for our park.

It's a very big project, you know, it's probably going to take another 20 years from start to finish to build this park because, you know, the money that costs the park and constantly getting grants or donations to do bits and pieces as we go. You know, it's an old farm property, we have old barns on it, and we're trying to save the buildings. And, you know, at the same time, there's ball fields there that are used by the community and the schools.

And you know, we're moving forward with our projects, you know, so we try to do as much as we can with grants and donations. And we do have a park fund, but it's hard to raise money to keep that going. So we're always looking for help for that.

Sophie Eden (10:01 - 10:06)

Right. And the 60 acres, that's a huge park.

Troy Bartron (10:07 - 10:07)

It is.

Sophie Eden (10:07 - 10:19)

And the farm buildings that you're talking about, is that part of one of the original dairy farms that you'd mentioned before was part of Mount Bethel Township?

Troy Bartron (10:19 - 10:42)

Yes. So pretty much everything, I guess you might say, is still there. This was prior to my time, but I've seen pictures and we talk about it.

Like we kept the old barn, we kept the calf barn, and actually part of the calf barn is being renovated for bathrooms right now, which was the money donated by a local business in the area.

Sophie Eden (10:43 - 10:51)

Wow. That's awesome. That's really cool to restore and keep that history as a part of the fabric of your township.

Troy Bartron (10:51 - 10:53)

Sure. Yep. Mm hmm.

Sophie Eden (10:54 - 11:01)

Why do you think it's important for municipalities to sell their government surplus?

Troy Bartron (11:01 - 11:37)

The reason we sell it is because that's the proper way to sell it, is by auction. We're not allowed to sell it privately. Since I've been here, we've had a surplus of equipment from another piece of property that we bought and it become a big storage area.

So rather than making a move back then to sell it, it takes a little fire to get things moving and the right people and find the right outlet to sell it. We've been very successful with Municibid selling our surplus equipment and we find it's the best way to move our equipment.

Sophie Eden (11:37 - 11:47)

And prior to using Municibid, what challenges did you face with managing your surplus and liquidating it?

Troy Bartron (11:48 - 13:08)

All right. So I worked at several municipalities where I was before. We would advertise it in a local paper and get bids that way, which cost us sometimes more money than what we're trying to sell was worth. Depends on the equipment.

And then at the same time, they used to have combined municipal auctions where local municipalities would get together, bring their equipment to one location, hire one auctioneer, and then they would sell it that way. Once every two years or every five years. But then, same thing, if you didn't have a reserve on your equipment or if it's an absolute sale, you couldn't protect your equipment.

It made it difficult for people to bring something that... Just say, for instance, you wanted $5,000 for it and it only sold for $1,000, you know what I mean? So how do you come back to the board and say, that's all we got for it?

What do you do with it then? And I found through Municibid, everything we're looking at to buy is very reasonable for what they're selling. And same way with our equipment.

We like to put it on there and kind of put a reserve on it to protect our equipment from being sold for too low of money. And it's been very successful that way.

Sophie Eden (13:09 - 13:16)

What advice would you have for other municipalities that are looking to sell their surplus?

Troy Bartron (13:16 - 13:46)

Yeah, I highly recommend going this route, you know, because it really doesn't cost the municipalities anything, which is great. You know, the buyer pays the fees and it's very simple to take pictures and list your equipment. You know, there's nothing difficult about it at all.

The website's very user-friendly, you know, for both parties, people looking at equipment and versus people selling equipment.

Sophie Eden (13:46 - 14:10)

That's great. And, you mentioned that you had worked at some other municipalities before, now working at Upper Mount Bethel Township. Can you tell me what made you decide to work with Upper Mount Bethel Township and what made it special for you that you were like, I need to work for this township here?

Troy Bartron(14:10 - 14:52)

Well, let's say the previous ones I worked for in the municipality business, I always wanted to better myself. So everywhere I go, you know, I've worked, you know, over 10 years at most of them and just keep going up the line. Then I worked for myself for a couple years and then I missed it and I wanted to come back.

So this municipality here is 12 miles from my home. I was very interested in coming to work here, you know, because of the setting, the rural setting that it is, and I'd like to move here, but at this time it's not doable. But I really like my co-workers and the rural setting that I work in.

Sophie Eden (14:53 - 15:07)

And for people visiting your township or driving through, what are some of the landmarks or fun activities for them to do there?

Troy Bartron (15:07 - 16:09)

Definitely visit our township park. And we also have the Delaware River, which is very scenic and a lot of activity on the river in the summer with canoeing and kayaking and camping. We have several large campgrounds in the township.

One of them is along the river. A lot of people like to go. But currently, yeah, we have a lot of breweries and a lot of them were old and then vineyards and actually a beautiful apple orchard, you know, that they do venues, music every weekend.

Very active community with that type of stuff, you know. And also with farm animals, there's quite a few places that you can take your children to pet animals and stuff. But we also have a major road issue going on, which is Route 611.

We had a major rock slide and it's been closed for over two years now. And we really don't know if it's ever going to open.

Sophie Eden (16:10 - 16:22)

Gosh, wow. So the rock slide and the damage done to that road, is that among the projects that you're working on right now to try to clear that road?

Troy Bartron (16:22 - 16:59)

Actually that belongs to PennDOT. There's nothing that we can do at this time because we have 611 this side, Interstate 80 on this side, Delaware River in the middle, you know, so they're just very narrow roads that go through like a rock glacier, and both roads have the same issue with rock falling. Sometimes they're closed and sometimes they're down to one lane.

You know, it makes it very difficult, you know, so you have to go all the way around or, you know, you've got to pay tolls to go in and out of the area.

Sophie Eden (17:00 - 17:18)

Wow, yeah, definitely a challenge, especially I'm sure with weather and having like a lot of rain that contributes to the rock slides. Is there anything you'd like to share about some of the other projects that you're currently working on?

Troy Bartron (17:18 - 18:45)

We do have one road that we're going to shave the bank because it's very steep and we get a lot of trees falling. In this area here also we have a lot of ash trees that constantly fall. They were ridden with a disease and every ash tree in our area died, probably two, three years ago.

It's very severe. There was a bug that, an ash borer that came through and killed all these trees. So that's an ongoing project, but typically we have our projects picked out through the year between paving, mowing, and then cutting shoulders, and then we did a road treatment which is called, we call it tar and chip.

You know, it seals it, then we put stone on top of it. You know, that's done by a contractor, but we go through and prep it and a lot of road pipes throughout the year. But we also get hit for some reason, I don't know, because of our area with severe weather throughout the summer.

Last year we had probably eight, nine inches of rain from one storm in less than three days. You know, so last year we was really hit hard with the storm cleanup which makes us behind on our regular road maintenance work. And also, like I say, we went from five guys to ten guys.

So you know, we're in much better shape right now.

Sophie Eden (18:46 - 19:07)

Gosh, it sounds like you're staying very busy. Sounds like a lot of work going on. And that's wonderful news that your team has grown to be able to handle all those projects.

Can you tell us a bit about what your fleet currently looks like and what you've got going on for your fleet?

Troy Bartron (19:07 - 19:58)

Well, right now, like I say, with the new trucks, we finally got one new one last week. It's finally here and the upfitter and we're still running our old fleet. We haven't, we're not going to get rid of anything yet until we get more trucks in.

You know, because, you know, just like anything else, whether it's new or not, they still have issues to be worked out, you know, from the manufacturer. You know, actually I went back yesterday to take a truck back to get some things done. But as far as our fleet goes, I say I'm one of the mechanics and I have a coworker that is also a mechanic.

And we keep what we can in-house fixed and what we can't fix. You know, we still use the dealer and we use a local mechanic, which is very good to us.

Sophie Eden (19:59 - 20:07)

Can you share a bit more about your maintenance schedule and process for your fleet and equipment?

Troy Bartron  (20:07 - 20:47)

Yes, as far as the maintenance schedules go, our equipment, like the loaders, backhoes, we service every 500 hours. Our trucks, we do every preventive maintenance, usually around 4,000 or 5,000 miles, unless the driver writes it up, you know, we have an issue. But you know, it depends on the job we're doing.

We always have something every day that is broken down or broke before we even use it type thing. You know, it's hard, you know what I mean? Because some guys are very mechanically inclined and know when something's wrong, others, no, you know.

So it makes our day very busy and unique as we go.

Sophie Eden (20:48 - 21:01)

What would you say has been one of the most memorable days at your time at Upper Mount Bethel Township where something crazy came up or something that surprised you?

Troy Bartron  (21:01 - 21:40)

Well, I have a lot of memorable days working here. I don't know where every day is. She'll tell you.

Every day is a good day and memorable day, but myself, and she'll agree that, you know, we both love our jobs and nothing is a challenge to us because, we've both been doing this so long, you know, and we can handle the situations as they come in. You know what I mean? But we do a big 4th of July fireworks display here.

You know, so I would say that probably be everybody's highlight, whether you work here or if you're a resident.

Sophie Eden (21:40 - 22:04)

So thank you very much, Troy and Cindy, for hopping on. It's been a blast to learn more about Mount Bethel township and the projects you've got going on and the challenges and also the fun things that you have in your community. It sounds like a really awesome place to live.

Thank you for tuning in to the Municibid Podcast.

Greg Berry  (22:05 - 22:12)

If you'd like to learn more about the world of government surplus, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Last Updated on May 30, 2024


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