By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Chuck Zentarski, owner of Chuck’s Garage at 52 Hood Terrace, is giving back to the city by performing the emission testing for free on all municipal vehicles that require testing, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.
Zentarski, who met with Rossi in her office Jan. 3, said he was answering the mayor’s call for help after reading a recent newspaper article in which Rossi had invited any West Haven resident or business with an idea for improving the city, particularly its financial woes, to contact her at City Hall.
“My idea was that I’d donate the emission testing for any city vehicle that requires a test,” Zentarski said. “It isn’t a lot, but it’s something.”
Zentarski, 64, has owned and operated his automobile repair garage, which is across the street from the train station, since 1974.
“I’m a West Haven resident, and I want to see things get fixed,” he said. “I hope it can spark other businesses and residents to help out. In order to fix the problem, everybody has to work together.”
Rossi agreed, praising Zentarski, a city resident since he was merely a year old, for being part of the solution.
Zentarski said he anticipates testing about 20 city vehicles — only those without municipal license plates, specifically the police detective sedans — per year. The in-kind service would save the city about $400 a year, he estimated.
“It’s not a lot, but that’s what I can do,” Zentarski said. “A lot of the newer cars — 2014 and over — don’t require an emission test.”
Emission testing is mandated by the state Department of Motor Vehicles every two years, with the exception of 2014-17 model-year vehicles and vehicles 1992 and older.
Most of the city fleet — composed of 226 vehicles, including sedans, SUVs and trucks — is exempt through one of those categories, in addition to already having municipal plates, Fleet Superintendent Robert A. Orifice Sr. said.
Orifice said the city has purchased two new Ford Taurus sedans and two 2013 sedans for the Police Department’s detective bureau, joining the bureau’s five 2016 Ford Taurus sedans.
The city has also purchased 10 new Freightliner “severe-duty” plow trucks for the Department of Public Works, he said.
Orifice said the high-tech trucks are equipped with plows and computer-controlled spreaders that manage how much sand and salt are used, as well as ergonomic cabs, heated windshields, LED lighting and stainless steel bodies.