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What to do about aging equipment was a main item of discussion at the Monday, October 5 regular meeting of the Mount Ayr city council.
City superintendent Brent Wise informed the council the city’s backhoe has a blown engine and the city’s dump truck is nearing the end of its usable life, with a faulty dump lift mechanism and rusted chassis along with problems with the clutch, brakes, lighting and heater.
All of this comes as the city crew prepares for another season of snow removal.
Four members of the crew – Robbie Mason, Shawn Brobst, Cody Jay, and Bob Schafer attended the meeting to provide further details about the condition of the equipment.
Wise said equipment replacement was not included in the city’s current city budget, but equipment repairs would also prove costly.
Wise said he had received estimates ranging from $6,000 to $9,000 to repair the backhoe. He added the city had already spent over $31,000 in repairs to that backhoe since 2015.
Wise produced a lengthy list of quotes for a new mini-excavator (approximately $55,000-59,000), backhoe ($102,000-120,000), and wheeloader ($111,000-129,000) for council consideration. He also estimated the cost of a new dump truck at $130,000.
The dilemma facing the council is whether its more advantageous to spend money to repair the equipment in hopes it will last through the winter season or use that money to purchase new or used equipment prior to the winter season. If the council approves a replacement, the next question comes in how the city will pay for the replacement.
After considerable discussion, Wise said he would bring a prioritized list of equipment needs and recommendations to meet those needs to the next council meeting.
The council also considered other equipment needs at Monday’s meeting.
Wise reported the backup submersible pump at the waste water treatment plant is currently in use, and the former pump needs to be repaired or replaced to fill the need for a backup. The cost to repair the pump would be $10,984.13. A new pump would run $22,768. The council took no action at Monday’s meeting..
The council approved a quote from NAPA in Mount Ayr to purchase a new hot water power washer for $4,489.
The council also approved an application for a USDA Financial Assistance grant totaling $18,300 to go toward two new emergency sirens. Total cost of the sirens is $52,000.
In other business the council:
• approved a contract with Paul Gruefe and Associates to provide human resource services to the city at $1,500 per month for a period of one year. The service will update city ordinances and procedures dealing with employment and supervision.
Approval of several changes in city ordinances proposed by Gruefe was tabled until the October 19 council meeting.
• discussed a potential city ordinance dealing with operation of golf carts, ATV, and UTV vehicles within the city limits. Councilman Ken Robertson reported he had been advised by DNR officer Corey Carlton that Carlton would begin writing citations to anyone operating such vehicles on city streets. Without an ordinance specifically allowing the use of these vehicles in the city, Iowa state law prohibits their use. Wise said he would bring a sample ordinance to the next meeting for council review.
• moved to obtain ownership of short sections of two city streets that are currently privately owned. The city requires access to water utilities under these sections.
• approved a $243,745.28 payment to Feldhacker Construction for work completed on the Cleveland Street project through October 2.