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.