At the end of the first week of February, the skid steer at the Solid Waste Facility failed. This piece of equipment is primarily used for moving trash into the compactors as well as for moving various items around the facility. The skid steer is an integral piece of equipment without which the department cannot operate; a rental unit was used on the weekend of February 8th in order to manage the incoming trash. On Monday February 10, we heard from the repair facility that the failure was in the hydraulic system. The unit shattered and would need to be replaced. We received an estimate of $6500 for repair. This was more than the machine was estimated to be worth (at the end of 2012, it had an approximate value of $8000, with an anticipated value of around $6000 after another year of use.) The hydraulic pump that needed to be replaced had a cost of $2418 for a new part or $2250 for a reconditioned part and the balance of the quoted repair cost would be labor. Further, because the failed pump shattered, additional damage may have occurred with fragments of metal disbursed in the rest of the system. Those impacts would not be clear until the pump was replaced. Thus, a potential existed for a repair cost greater than the initial estimate.
Recognizing the cost of repair exceeded the value of the machine, on February 10, the Board of Selectmen authorized an emergency lease purchase replacement of the skid steer. On February 11, Facility Manager Dave Mellen solicited quotes from four vendors for replacement machines. After reviewing the results with Town Administrator Jason Hoch, Mellen visited three vendors on February 11 and 12 to test three machines. Following these visits, Mellen provided his recommendation to acquire a Caterpillar 226B3 Skid Steer Loader with a net cost of $33,250 after an allowance of $2500 trade for the New Holland L170 that the Town was replacing.
It is expected that this equipment will be leased. The first year’s payment for 2014 will most likely be made from the Public Works Expendable Trust Fund authorized by Town Meeting in 2012 which can be used for “payment of solid waste disposal fees in excess of the annual budgeted appropriation for that purpose as well as the replacement of capital equipment at the Solid Waste Facility with a value of greater than $5000.” In addition, Facility Manager Dave Mellen intends to resubmit a previously approved grant application that will provide up to $5000 toward the purchase cost. The Town Administrator will be developing several lease payment approaches for the Board of Selectmen to consider in the coming weeks.