The City of Rushford Village Council (CRV) spent most of its Tuesday, March 7, meeting discussing equipment needs for the village.

The conversation came on the heels of a meeting with the Equipment Committee, comprised of councilors Mike Ebner and Chad Rasmussen as well as Public Works supervisor Travis Scheck and Public Works employee Hamilton Petersen.

One of the goals of the meeting was to develop a list of equipment and a prioritized list of potential upgrades and replacements.

At the top of that list was a new skid loader and trailer. Rasmussen cited a suggestion from FEMA concerning road and bridge projects as the reason for focusing on the skid loader and trailer.

Rasmussen estimated that the cost would be around $45,000. He also suggested that the loader to be purchased should have tracks.

“There are limitations to what we have and the ability to get around,” pointed out Mayor Gordon Johnson. Purchasing a loader with tracks would allow the loader to dig into the ground a little deeper so that it would have better maneuverability.

However, the committee noted that a loader with metal tracks would be an inconvenience as it may be responsible for tearing up yards and roads.

As the conversation continued, Scheck and treasurer Judy Graham reminded the council that the current loader has approximately 4,500 hours on it and is 19 years old.

“We’re not going to get a lot of money back on that machine — that’s a lot of hours,” said Rasmussen. “It’s getting us by now. We’re starting with the lowest price piece of equipment and the most feasible piece of equipment for the FEMA project.”

“We have an equipment fund that does have money in it, and so we don’t want to deplete it,” replied Johnson, who suggested that the committee consider making a plan with payments, instead of purchasing all at once.

“With interest rates being what they are, it might not be the worst idea to consider, maybe, not paying it up front.”

Councilor Dennis Overland asked about either renting a loader or even purchasing a used loader that may be five years old or so would be a better option? While Rasmussen thought that this was an option, he warned, “I wouldn’t go used.”

He cited warranty issues and the need for several hours of usage, neither of which is conducive to the options Overland suggested.

Because the pricing is under $100,000 the council does not need to collect sealed bids, but they empowered Scheck and the committee to get specific quotes and bring them back to the March 21 regular meeting.

Looking to the future, Rasmussen added that the blade on the road grader isn’t too far from needing replacement.

“That blade is starting to show a lot of signs of wear – non fixable wear. That’s going to be a spendy piece of equipment. That’s not going to be real cheap, I don’t think.”

Crushed rock bids solicited

Another important council item was the discussion of crushed rock bids. The council unanimously approved seeking bids for crushed rock.

In 2016, the bid was placed for 3,000 cubic yards, but due to storms in October, FEMA has estimated that the CRV will need 2,158 tons of rock just for those affected areas.

Scheck noted that FEMA will be footing the cost of the rock, but that the CRV will be the ones responsible for application as well as for collecting bids and sourcing the rock estimates.

Councilor Rich Smith inquired as to how much crushed rock the CRV used in the previous year?

Scheck replied that they used the full 3,000 cubic yards that they bid for.

New city engineer announced

Scheck informed that council that current city engineer, Josh Pope of Bolton and Menk, Inc. in Rochester, will be moving to a different office and will not be able to continue his role for the CRV.

Scheck added that in his place will be Brian Malm. The CRV has had prior experience with Malm, who also consults as city engineer with the city of Rushford.

Pope will still be in contact with McHugh Construction and will finish out the contract with them for the construction project in South Rushford that is slated to be fully completed in spring.

Next meeting set

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, at the City of Rushford Village Hall, 43038 State Hwy 30. Regular council meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays.