The Equipment Committee for Rushford Village met March 3 to discuss equipment needs for the Village. The committee is made up of Councilors Mike Ebner and Chad Rasmussen, Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck, and worker Hamilton Peterson. During the meeting, the committee compiled a list of all equipment and prioritized it in attempt to develop a plan for replacement or upgrades. In the past, equipment was generally replaced on an as needed basis.
Due to the FEMA road project and a list of other road and bridge projects, the committee thought it prudent to begin with replacement of the skid loader and trailer, which is not entirely feasible for the loader already owned by the city. “We need to do it this year,” said Rasmussen in a summary at the March 7 council meeting. It’s estimated that a new unit, with needed add-ons, could ring in at $45,000.
Councilor Dennis Overland questioned whether the committee had considered renting a loader. It was talked about, but the committee felt it wasn’t ideal with the number of hours that are going to be required for projects. They are also recommending a loader with tracks, as some of the areas it will be used in are tough to maneuver. Tracks that slip onto existing wheels were also considered, but those with experience with them noted they’d had terrible luck. “Track machines are meant for tracks,” added Rasmussen. Metal tracks were also considered, but can tear up roads and yards, so were eliminated from consideration. “There’s so many different options, but this is where we’re starting,” added Rasmussen.
“Could we get a loader that’s say five years old and pay maybe half of that?” asked Overland. Rasmussen indicated that was an option, but that doing so would likely eliminate the option of a warranty for the purchased unit. “But if we save $25,000… that can do a lot of road work,” added Overland.
The current loader has approximately 4,500 hours on it and is 19 years old. “We’re not going to get stellar trade-in on it,” stressed Rasmussen. “We’re starting with the lowest priced piece of equipment for the FEMA projects.”
The city has an equipment fund with a sizeable balance, but Mayor Gordon Johnson cautioned against depleting the fund, too. “With interest rates so low, it might make sense to not pay for it up front.” The city had initially planned to fund a reclaimer for roadways this year, but that may be bumped for a loader. Johnson suggested perhaps the Finance Committee and the Equipment Committee should have a joint meeting to discuss the matter, but it was determined that quotes for both new and used equipment could be sought and brought forth at the next meeting.
The next piece of equipment that will need replacing is the road grader blade. “It’s starting to show a lot of signs of wear,” said Rasmussen. “Non-fixable wear. That’s gonna be a spendy piece of equipment.” The matter will be brought up again at the March 21 meeting.
The council also voted to up the crushed rock request in bid advertisements. Doing so will cover rock needs to repair roads that were heavily damaged in late 2016 storms. Originally, the council had considered a 3,000 cubic yard bid request, but a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) review of a storm damage report led Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck to alert the council that 2,158 tons of rock would be put on the areas. While FEMA is covering the cost of the rock, the city will likely need to source it and including it could result in a lower overall cost per yard.
Dates for the Spring and Fall Clean Up have been set for Saturday, May 13, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday, October 14, from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Residents should note that the spring date has been changed to just one date instead of a Friday/Saturday event.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.