Sherburne County’s maintenance trucks are getting old and will need to be replaced.
Tuesday, the Sherburne County Board approved a request by Public Works Director John Menter to spend $845,000 to buy four new vehicles and other maintenance equipment.
During a workshop a week earlier, Menter told the board his department has been saving some of its annual budget allocation for new vehicles over the past few years
“In 2009 I introduced the idea of a fleet replacement budget to try to catch up with our old equipment,” he said. “In 2009 we budgeted $436,000 and it looked like we were on a path to be able to do that - until the big recession hit. We trimmed that back considerably to $225,000.”
Then it was cut again to under $200,000 a year. Because money was tight Menter said instead of buying new equipment they started refurbishing some of the older equipment to try to squeeze a few more years out of it.
“During those years we were budgeting funds, we were very stingy with our expenditures and squirreled away as much money as we could,” he said. “Now in the last two years we’ve increased our fleet replacement budget to the level where we think we can start catching up again.”
The four trucks he asked to replace include two tandem (plow) trucks at $235,000 each, a sign truck at $200,000 and an F550 intersection plow truck and box at $75,000.
“The sign truck is the newest of the trucks we’re trying to replace and that’s a 1998,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of use out of them.”
Menter said the newer sign trucks have extended walkways to reach further off the road.
“These guys can get to the signs out in the ditch and they’re not reaching or standing on ladders. Ours is not equipped to handle that,” he said. “I know $200,000 is a lot of money, but if we can get at least 16-plus years out of this one as well, the cost per year I think is justified.”
The intersection plow truck will be used for tighter areas and intersections and also to pull the asphalt patch trailer for filling potholes.
“I’m guessing that we’re going to get a lot of use out of our patch trailer in the next few weeks,” he said. “If you’ve driven on any of our county roads, you’ll know that to be true.”
As of the end of 2013, the department has $843,000 in the vehicle and equipment fund, with another $600,000 budgeted for 2014.
“I’m asking that we not only spend what was allocated for equipment this year, but also spend some of those reserves to try to catch up with our aging fleet,” he said to the board. “This is the biggest request I’ve ever made.”
After the board approved the purchases, Commissioner Felix Schmiesing asked Menter to re-evaluate the department’s vehicle needs for future budgets.
The board awarded the contract for grading, culvert replacement, bituminous reclamation and overlay on Co. Rd. 4 between Co. Rd. 11 and Co. Rd. 5, and on Co, Rd. 16 from Hwy. 10 to Co. Rd. 6 to Knife River at a bid of $3,270,312.11. Hardrives was the only other bidder at $3,275,060.14. The award is contingent upon review by the county attorney and public works.
The board set a public hearing for May 13 at 9:10 a.m. to consider a tax abatement for S&B LLC. Assessor Dan Weber said the company is planning a 9,600 sq. ft. expansion to its building in Princeton Industrial Park.
S&B LLC is a real estate holding company that is leasing the building to Biomatrix, an animal feed additive company.
The total amount of the county tax abatement would be $32,900 over 10 years.
In other action the board:
• Approved an interim use permit for Brian Chenvert for a business selling vehicles, boats, farm implements and conducting paintless dent repair on a .69 acre parcel in Baldwin Twp.;
• Approved the purchase of a 2014 Class 400 bus for Tri-CAP serving riders in Sherburne County. MnDOT has authorized funding for the vehicle and has committed to reimburse 80% of the cost. The county’s portion will be $15,200.
• s Approved a request by the auditor/treasurer to hire an office assistant after the resignation of a part-time staff member on April 18 and another staff member who retires in June.