County commissioners purchases new loader

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A new John Deere wheel loader joined the fleet of equipment for the Bourbon County Public Works Department Monday.

On May 19, Roads and Bridges Director Jim Harris reported the county's loader used at the asphalt plant had to be taken out of service because of a chronic brake issue. In order to continue with asphalt projects, the loader used by the culvert crew was moved to the asphalt plant, which halted culvert work. At that time, Harris was given permission to borrow a loader until commissioners could decide on a replacement.

On May 23, sales representatives from Foley Tractor, Murphy Tractor and Berry Tractor attended the commission meeting to present details of loaders their companies could rent, lease or sell the county. After that meeting, Harris created a spreadsheet with all the information.

Also on May 23, Harris reported Murphy Tractor and Berry Tractor brought demonstration models for the county to use, and later, Foley Tractor also provided a loader.

"We had two operators out there. Operators went back and forth on which one they liked, what they didn't like and what they'd like to change," Harris said Monday.

The operators trying the machines asked if a radio and shift could be added on the palm control of the John Deere model offered by Murphy Tractor. Travis Clinesmith, sales representative, said that could be done.

In response to comments from the operators, Richard Johnson, Foley Tractor sales representative, offered to install a camera on the Caterpillar model offered by his company.

"So the operators were back and forth," Harris said. "All three good loaders."

He thanked the representatives, Johnson, Clinesmith and Steve Richard of Berry Tractor, which provided a Komatsu 270 for demonstration and sale.

Harris' recommendation was based on the lowest bid, which was the 2013 John Deere 534K with 30 hours on the motor and a five-year warranty for $127,300.

Murphy Tractor also offered a 2012 JD 524K with 455 hours for $112,648 and a 2014 JD 524K direct from the factory for $130,000.

Foley Tractor's bid was for a Caterpillar 924K with zero hours for $155,829.

Berry Tractor submitted a bid of $139,300 for a Komatsu 270 with zero hours.

Following the May 23 meeting, the county also received a bid for a 2014 Volvo L60G with zero hours for $134,500.

Before accepting the bid from Murphy, commissioners discussed whether they should rent or buy the loader. Murphy Tractor and Berry Tractor offered zero interest, regardless of whether the county rented or purchased. Foley Tractor offered zero interest while the loader is rented, but the interest would kick in after that.

"If we rent it, that's for a period of time -- three months, six months or whatever -- then we still have to make a decision on buying it," Warren said.

The commissioners then discussed paying for the loader. Because the loader will be used at the asphalt plant, it will qualify as an expense from the sales tax fund specified for hard surface roads. Harris said the loader also will be used in the winter for road treatment material.

In the end, the commissioners voted to purchase the John Deere loader and pay for it from the county's budget. The Roads and Bridges fund has $10,000 available; $30,000 will be used from the sales tax fund; and $87,300 will be taken from the special machinery fund.

Harris said the county has two pieces of equipment that can be sold on Purple Wave, an online auction service. The revenue from those sales can replenish the special machinery fund, he said.

Other county business

Greg Schick attended the meeting to discuss an issue he ran into when he tried to tag a collectible car. He said the employees in the Bourbon County Treasurer's/Tag Office provided him with a title stating the car exceeded its mechanical limits because it is more than 10 years old, even though it has low actual miles, he said.

Placing the "exceeds mechanical limits" on the title lowers the trade-in or sale price of a vehicle, Schick said.

He spoke with staff in Topeka, who told him the type of title issued is at the discretion of the county.

In the end, Schick said he obtained the correct title, but it cost him an additional $20, and he asked commissioners if he could receive a refund since the error was not his.

He also said he is not blaming the Bourbon County staff, as they told him they were doing the job per state training. He suggested the commissioners speak to officials on the state level to get the procedure changed, as he's sure he's not the only person who has had this issue.

Commissioners recommended he speak to County Treasurer Rhonda Dunn.

Dunn reported back to the commissioners, but later contacted the Tribune with additional information.

She said her staff followed procedure by entering the mileage provided by Schick. Her staff had been instructed to check the box stating the car "exceeds mechanical limits," if the car is more than 10 years old, no matter what the mileage is on the odometer.

"The change (from the state) is if they provide the mileage, we'll change the title, but they will be charged a fee," Dunn said.

* The commissioners held five executive sessions: a 15-minute, then a 20-minute session to discuss non-elected personnel to protect their privacy with Harris; a 10-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel with Register of Deeds Lora Holdridge and Clerk Kendall Mason; a 10-minute session to discuss possible litigation with Valorie LeBlanc, assistant county attorney; and a 10-minute session to discuss non-elected personnel with Mason.