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Vehicles

Suffolk County Police are looking to identify and locate two people who allegedly damaged vehicles in Miller Place.

A total of four vehicles parked at two different houses on Miller Place Road were damaged sometime overnight between May 23 and 24. Three tires and two windows were damaged on a 2013 Jeep Wrangler and three tires were damaged on a 2016 Dodge Ram at one home while two tires were damaged on both a 2010 Subaru Forester and a 2008 Toyota RAV4 at another home.

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Town unanimously approves comptroller’s plan to breathe new life into aging vehicles through leasing

Smithtown Town Hall. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown is going ahead with plans to upgrade its vehicle fleet.

The Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously at its meeting last Thursday night, Jan. 21, to enter into an agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management and gradually upgrade its aging vehicle fleet. Over the next year, the town will begin phasing in 23 new high-mileage vehicles into its fleet with more to come, according to the agreement with Enterprise FM Trust.

The proposal came from town Comptroller Donald Musgnug, who brought Enterprise representatives to the board before a work session earlier this month calling on the town to upgrade its 192-vehicle fleet. Most of those vehicles, Musgnug said, were approaching two decades in age and six-digit mileage numbers.

“Clearly we have an aging fleet,” Musgnug said to the board at the work session. “Enterprise is one of the leaders in this industry. The proposal is on the table.”

Musgnug said Smithtown had about $986,000 set aside in its 2016 budget for the purchasing and maintenance of the town’s vehicle fleet used across various departments, and with Enterprise’s help, the town would be replacing about 173 of its vehicles over the next five years and save money while doing it.

According to the deal, Enterprise would purchase the vehicles directly from various manufacturers and use government incentives while leasing them out to the town for prices Smithtown would not be able to acquire on its own, the Enterprise leasing representatives said.

“We’ve been doing this with a lot of New York entities,” said Jacob Garth, government marketing manager at Enterprise at a work session earlier this month. “We do more than just managing and acquiring vehicles. When we look at the fleet, one of the key objectives we make is to lower the age of the fleet, and a significant portion of your fleet is more than 10 years old.”

Garth said that municipalities like Smithtown typically purchase their vehicles via state contractors, which often limit purchases to only one manufacturer. Enterprise, however, has more than 1.6 million vehicles in its fleet from a range of manufacturers, which Garth argued would give Smithtown more opportunity for savings through open-ended leases.

Fleet consultant Jay Greene of Enterprise also said his group has already signed onto similar agreements with Brookhaven and Huntington towns and started discussing plans with Smithtown back in September.

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Smithtown’s aging vehicle fleet might soon see a major upgrade.

Town Comptroller Donald Musgnug pitched a proposal at Tuesday’s Town Board work session that could essentially allow the town to trade in its dated cars and trucks for newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Town Board discussed the potential fleet management agreement with representatives of Enterprise on Musgnug’s recommendations to act sooner than later.

“Clearly we have an aging fleet,” Musgnug said to the board members at Tuesday’s work session. “Enterprise is one of the leaders in this industry. The proposal is on the table.”

The comptroller said Smithtown currently manages 192 vehicles of varying sizes with many of them approaching two decades of use under the town’s ownership. Some of its most maintenance-heavy vehicles, he said, included a 1997 Ford F250 pickup truck with 285,000 miles on it and a Chevy Express 3500 cargo van with 184,000 miles on it. If the town were to sign onto a deal with Enterprise, representatives said, an advisor would help the town lower the age of its fleet to cut costs of maintenance and fuel by trading them out for newer, leased vehicles.

“We’ve been doing this with a lot of New York entities,” said Jacob Garth, government marketing manager at Enterprise Fleet Management. “We do more than just managing and acquiring vehicles. When we look at the fleet, one of the key objectives we make is to lower the age of the fleet, and a significant portion of your fleet is more than 10 years old.”

Garth said that municipalities like Smithtown typically purchase their vehicles via state contractors, which often limit purchases to only one manufacturer. Enterprise, however, has more than 1.6 million vehicles in its fleet from a range of manufacturers, which Garth argued would give Smithtown more opportunity for savings through open-ended leases.

Musgnug said his preliminary recommendations were to reduce Smithtown’s fleet size from 192 to 173 over five years.

“We’re looking at a phase-in approach because we currently have a maintenance crew of more than 20 auto mechanics in the town,” he said. “Phasing it in allows them to stay occupied, and through attrition, there may be some reduction because as you have some new vehicles, the maintenance lessens. This could be significant cost savings.”

Town Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) expressed steadfast support for the proposal to upgrade the town’s aging fleet and asked Musgnug if it was possible to phase new vehicles in over three years instead of five.

“Let’s get rid of all this garbage,” he said.

Fleet consultant Jay Greene of Enterprise said his group has already signed onto similar agreements with Brookhaven and Huntington towns and started discussing plans with Smithtown back in September.

Town Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R) said he felt the board needed to take more time to learn about its options and pushed the discussion to a later date. He also instructed Musgnug to touch base with his government counterparts in neighboring Brookhaven and Huntington in order to draft a report of testimonials from towns already working on a similar plan with Enterprise.

“I would think we would need more discussion amongst ourselves about whether or not we want to do this,” Vecchio said. “This is a discussion we need to have at another date, and we’ll contact Enterprise.”

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Peter Nettesheim embodies the idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Step inside his Huntington Town home and it’s nothing like it seems from the outside.

Picture this: You walk through an ordinary front door, expecting a small foyer or hallway to meet you. But as your eyes adjust from the natural light, all you see are warm wood and soft lights reflecting off of dozens of different pieces of metal. No side table or closet for jackets. You become more confused before you begin to understand what you’re looking at. A second ago you were on a residential road, listening to someone’s leaf blower start up. The next second all you hear is a model train driving by overhead and The Jackson 5 playing softly in the background.

Nettesheim is the proud owner of more than 100 BMW vehicles. Although many are in storage, his home boasts an impressive portion of the collection. Motorcycles cover most of the floor space, along with trophies, antique gas dispensers and even a few vintage cars.

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Jay Leno and Billy Joel have visited Nettesheim’s home, as well as more than 100 other private visitors each year. He calls it “his little sanctuary.”

Hints of Germany linger everywhere. A German greeting hangs from the ceiling and a mannequin named Elka stands in traditional German clothing sporting a dirndl, which is like an apron. Nettesheim explained that according to German tradition, the cloth signifies whether a girl is single or spoken for, depending on whether it is tied with a knot to the left or right. Elka is currently single.

In one corner sits the oldest BMW motorcycle to date, with a confirmation from BMW hanging above it. Across from it is a fully stocked bar, with several glass bottles of Coca-Cola personalized with Nettesheim’s name.

“My wife found those for me,” Nettesheim said.

This space is intimate, so it fights the feeling one gets at famous places like the American Museum of Natural History. One can literally sit at the bar and have a drink while gazing at relics. In one corner stands the oldest BMW bike in history, in another, a couch sporting pillows adorned with phrases like “man cave.”

Still, there are touches that make it feel like an established museum. Several motorcycles have backdrops behind them that display information about the particular model standing in front of it. Historic black-and-white photos of people riding old BMW bikes are also featured on the walls.

Nettesheim said the American Motorcyclist Association asked him to curate a BMW exhibit for its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio in 2010. His backdrops are straight out of that exhibit. Nettesheim chose all of the information and photos on the backdrops when he designed the show.

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

He said he didn’t take any money for the curation.

“I do this for fun,” he said. “This is strictly my hobby.”

Nettesheim is driven about his pastime and expressed surprise that many who visited his museum didn’t share the same kind of enthusiasm for a hobby — especially the younger generation.

“I never really understood that,” Nettesheim said.

The bike collector said that in conversations with his visitors he was caught off guard to learn that many had no hobbies of their own.

“There’s nothing that engages them, there’s nothing that they see and want to know how this works and how it’s made.”

He said he worried that his own hobby, shared by mostly the older generation, would eventually die out. “Most people you meet at biker clubs are not young guys.”

Despite the future of motorcycle collecting, Nettesheim remains driven by his passion. His father, a Mercedes-Benz car collector, has greatly influenced him. Nettesheim purchased his first BMW motorcycle when he was about 20 years old and fell in love with bikes ever since.

“I wake up in the morning and I think about the collection,” Nettesheim said. “There’s something I want to do. Every day I want to get home and get next to the bike and take something off it or fix a tire. It’s in me. I have a passion for it.”

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