Eutaw council addresses cleanup issues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

EUTAW-In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the City of Eutaw has worked hard to clean debris from streets and roadways. However, recent developments have presented and expensive problem to the council. The city’s backhoe has encountered numerous problems and mechanical malfunctions forcing the city to look into purchasing a new machine.

Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele said the city has been working very hard, but their hands were tied without a backhoe.

“We have been working very diligently to get the debris off the streets and we have run into some problems with our backhoe,” Steele said. “It has been in and out of the shop during the cleanup and it has been brought to my attention that we need an engine for the backhoe.”

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Steele said they needed to have a backup of some kind in place in case they were left without a machine completely.

“It is a requirement that we have a backup for that backhoe should it be down at any time,” Steele said. “That backhoe has been in and out of the shop for some time and we are still going to try and get it fixed, but we really need to purchase another backhoe. I wanted to get the council’s approval and recommendations to do that.”

Currently, the city is completely without a backhoe while repairs are done. Steele said if something were to come up the city would be in a tremendous jam.

“At this time we do not have a backhoe that is functional,” Steele said. “If we were to have a problem with the water line we would need to have one so it kind of puts us in a tough situation. We have been making do with what we’ve got, but we really do need to purchase another one.”

A new backhoe would cost the city around $60,000. A used backhoe would run around $32,000. The city has been in negotiations with the Alabama Department of Transportation to look at a purchase agreement that would allow them to wait 90 days so they could make payments out of tax collection funds.

Steele said the funds to pay for the new machine would come from money in the water fund.

“We plan to pay for it out of the water fund,” Steele said. “The water fund is kind of low right now, but that is why we were trying to get the delay of about 90 days.”

Steele said the city was pressed for time as far as getting a new machine in place.

“We have to have these backhoes available and we don’t have a lot of time,” Steele said. “I am doing everything I can to get the other one up and running.”

As for the cleanup, Steele said city workers have put in a lot of hours to clear the debris from city streets. He said they should be close to the end of their major cleanup effort.

“We have done a lot of overtime trying to get everything up and we are going to get the street sweeper out,” Steele said. “We are going to use that to get the leaves and some other things up and we should be on our regular schedule by Wednesday. We still have some little stuff out there to get up, but we should get that taken care of this week.”

Councilmember Lewis Bostick praised the efforts of the mayor and city workers.

“I want to commend the mayor for the effort he has put forth in getting that stuff cleaned up,” Bostick said. “We have all tried to be patient and we appreciate what they have done. They have done a good job, the whole crew has, and we appreciate it.”