County seeking replacement tractor
Officials hope to use a state contract again and avoid problematic bids and extra costs.
The Polk County Public Works department expects to spend another busy spring through fall keeping the grass from growing too tall alongside local roadways.
Public Works Director Michael Gravett expects his crews — with the weather always a factor in this — to mow around more than 500 miles of county roadway at least six times during the coming months.
One thing he needs to accomplish this is a replacement tractor and mower to keep the operations running smoothly. A purchase that is part of the department’s Capital Improvement plan and will be paid for out of the 2014 Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax program, Gravett spe- cifically asked the bid committee if he could move forward as he did in late 2015 and get the equipment off of a state contract, rather than have to bid it out.
“We’ve already found exactly what we want and what we need, “Gravett said. “It’s the same state contract, and the same vendor still has it.”
The problem county officials ran into last time, Gravett said, was that when he bid out the mower to several companies who sell tractors and boom mowers, he got a variety of options he didn’t want. “We ran into this last time, and it’s actually cheaper anyway with the way everything worked out,” said Commissioner Scotty Tillery, chair of the bid committee. “This is a very important machine, and all the work the department did last year with keeping everything mowed is a good example of just how important it can be. If you have a rainy season like we did last summer, you can’t keep up.”
Tillery did ask Gravett to get bids to provide a comparison on price for the tractor and boom mower. He said if the final purchase is approved, it would give him six tractors and mowers operating at one time, ultimately allowing the Public Works employees responsible for roadside management more efficient.
“We have 572 miles of roadway in this county, in which we try to cut everything,” Gravett said.
A task made more difficult when one of his tractors and attached mower is out of order.
“This is a piece of equipment we’ve got to replace,” Gravett said.