Fayette village council 2012.11.28

Written by David Green.


Fayette village council members think that investing in a new backhoe now will save cash in the future thanks to a generous state purchasing plan.

Maintenance coordinator Matt Moats told council last week the village has spent about $9,000 in the past two years to repair the backhoe and about $13,000 needs to be invested in maintenance during the next year, including replacement of the bushings.

Moats said the village would receive $19,000 to trade in its current unit and a discount of $63,000 through the state purchase plan. This would lower the cost of a new $140,000 backhoe to $58,000.

Moats suggested a three-year trade-in plan because the village could trade in the new backhoe and receive more than what was spent initially for the purchase. The trade-in money could then be used to buy a new unit.

“Eventually it would pay for itself,” said councilor David Borer.

Council member Julia Ruger said there are village employees who would like a pay raise, but instead $58,000 would be spent on a backhoe.

“I have a problem spending this kind of money right now,” she said.

“That’s one thing no one is going to understand,” answered chief financial officer Liza Zuver. “The raises would not come out of these funds.”

Zuver explained that the use of certain funds is restricted. In this case, money in the street fund could not be used to pay police salaries, for example, but it could be used for equipment that will be used with street work.

Street funds come from the state primarily through taxes paid on gasoline and license fees. 

“People automatically assume you can get the money from anywhere,” said mayor Ruth Marlatt, “but it can’t be used for anything else. This money is for specific uses and this is one thing we can use it on.”

Zuver said there is $92,000 in the street fund. If council votes at the next meeting to buy the backhoe, it could be paid for in one lump sum or partially from a loan. Ruger suggested half and half and Zuver said she will check on interest rates.

Moats said that if the village spent $13,000 to refurbish the backhoe, it might last another 13 years but would have very little resale value and might require additional work. He expects no maintenance costs other than oil changes with a three-year plan.

“If the [resale] offer isn’t good enough, we can keep it,” said village administrator Steve Blue. “We’re not locked into it.”

STREETS—Dave Wheeler asked if the village was moving backwards with street paving because so many old water lines need to be replaced and the new pavement will need to be dug up.

Zuver noted that funds aren’t available for water line replacement now, but the water plant loan will be paid in 2018, along with another loan ending, and then the village might consider gradually replacing lines.

Police chief Jason Simon wondered if village workers could replace the lines on Mill Street before paving since breaks occur there frequently.

POLICE—Chief Simon told council that he’s putting in an extremely large number of overtime hours due to a shortage of personnel and he suggested hiring another full-time officer.

Simon said he will continue to work the overtime when needed.

“People are paying for coverage and I’m going to give it to them,” he said.

WATER—Jeff Merillat has offered to serve as a backup to Tom Rupp as the licensed water plant operator. Merillat will take classes, if needed, to keep his license up to date.

SEWER PROJECT—Blue said there are just a few signatures needed for property easements and he doesn’t anticipate any problems with the project moving forward.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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