Marengo County looking to upgrade equipment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

LINDEN-Old equipment and growing needs have caused the Marengo County Commission to take closer look at replacing some the machinery they currently employ. For years the county has operated the same vehicles and equipment. Some have been in service for four decades.

One of the items County Engineer Ken Atkins requested was a tractor with a side cutter to care for some of the overgrowth on county roads. Atkins said the growth has become a problem in several areas and he would like to add a side cutter to help solve some of the problems they face. Atkins also said he would like to hire a man full time to run the side cutter to help catch up on some of the work.

“If I had to choose an item we need right now, I would say the side cutter,” Atkins said. “I would also like to hire a man full time to run it. We are getting farther and farther behind and I would like to have one during the summer months.”

Atkins said during the summer months most of the county workers are occupied with bush hogging. He said during this time they can fall behind on some of the growth on the roadside.

The side cutter would cost around $40,000, however, it would be the first new piece of equipment in some time. Commissioner Max Joiner said they had been using some of their equipment for several decades and some of it had become more troublesome than helpful.

“We haven’t replaced any equipment in a long time,” Joiner said. “We have been operating some of this equipment since the 1960’s. Some of this equipment has had it.”

Joiner said there was also a need in personnel. He and Atkins said the addition of an operator for the side cutter would not be an addition; it would simply be filling some positions that have remained unoccupied.

“We haven’t replaced anyone that has retired, quit or gone on sick leave,” Joiner said. “We haven’t replaced anyone. I think this will have benefits in many ways.”

Atkins said the new tractor would probably be used strictly as a side-cutter; however, it could pull six-foot bush hog if necessary. The side cutter could also save the county money as some of the damages to roads associated with overgrowth would be eliminated.

Atkins said they also needed two new trucks and a vehicle for the engineer. Atkins said there were three vehicles that had exceeded twice the life of most automobiles.

“What we are getting into is two fold really,” Atkins said. “I have one vehicle that has 230,000, one 250,000 and another one with 280,000. If we purchase the new vehicles we would slide those vehicles down our fleet.”

Atkins added two of the vehicles were completely shot. Two of the trucks were expected to cost

$16,000 and another $17,000.

Joiner said he wanted to remind everyone that they were not planning to replace all the vehicles, just the ones that were on their last leg.

“We aren’t replacing all of our vehicles,” Joiner said. “We are just looking at some of the vehicles that are causing problems.”

The commission agreed to begin looking at prices for the new equipment.