County seek­ing re­place­ment trac­tor

Of­fi­cials hope to use a state con­tract again and avoid prob­lem­atic bids and ex­tra costs.

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick SJ Edi­tor

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.

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