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River Heights will lease backhoe this year, not rent

January 27th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Tyson Thorpe

RIVER HEIGHTS–The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to lease a new backhoe, hoping to save around $5,000 this coming year by leasing instead of continuing to rent one.

The city rented a backhoe from Niederhauser Construction Inc. for a few months at the end of 2009. The cost from October to December amounted to $7,873, which included rental of the backhoe and payment of its operator, said Clayten Nelson, public works assistant for the city. The backhoe was used for snow removal from cul-de-sacs.

Nelson presented to the City Council details of leasing a backhoe instead of continuing to rent one. He said that to lease a new backhoe the city would only be charged $233 per month. The lease would be for a year and would be limited to 300 hours of use of the backhoe. Nelson said he believes that 300 hours would be more than enough for the city’s projects for the year.

River Heights has plans to install electronically readable water
throughout the city. Mayor Bill Baker said the city plans to install the new water meters so that they can be read easily and more often. He said the new meters would broadcast radio signals. City workers would then be able to drive through the city with a receiver in their vehicle.

Nelson said the leased backhoe would be used for that project, as well as for snow removal and cleaning of irrigation ditches. It would also be used for any emergency projects that occurred during the year, like the sunken manhole and water leaks that occurred during 2009.

Baker said the money saved from using the leased backhoe to clean the irrigation ditches, instead of hiring contractors, could be put towards the cost of the lease.

The lease would last a year and the city would not be responsible for maintenance of the backhoe, Nelson said. The city would be responsible for any extra costs or damages.

“Exactly like leasing a car,” said Nelson.

James Brackner, city treasurer, raised a concern over what would be done with the backhoe during the winter.

Baker said the backhoe would be stored in the garage east of the city building. The garage currently houses the city’s snow removal vehicles, but is large enough that the backhoe could be stored there.

“The quicker you get on it the better,” said Nelson when asked if the council could decide the matter at another meeting. He said once the city signed the lease it would receive the backhoe when it became available. If the council waited to decide, then it might take a few months to receive the backhoe, Nelson said.

Kent Parker, public works supervisor, supported Nelson’s
proposal to the city council.

“I think it’s a good buy,” said Rob Gines, the first council member to voice his support of the lease.


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