Town will replace sweeper, excavator

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BENNINGTON — Select Board members took action this week to approve replacing two pieces of heavy equipment.

Members, during their meeting on Monday, approved a lease-to-own option on a new street sweeper for the town and a purchase option for a new excavator for the Water Department.

The town's sweeper was damaged in a fire last October, Highway Superintendent R.J. Joly said.

Assistant Town Manager Dan Monks said Joly negotiated with a dealer that has provided the town with a demonstration sweeper at no cost for several months.

Joly recommended members sign-off on a five-year "lease-to-buy" deal on the sweeper: The cost of $245,300 is about $12,700 less than a brand new unit.

"It has some hours on it, but it's pretty much new," Joly said. The demonstration unit will have the same warranty as a brand new unit, he said.

The five-year financing option has an annual payment of $51,943.51. Joly said the interest rate is below 3 percent.

Monks noted that the first year's payment is already covered. The insurance settlement for the fire-damaged sweeper was $55,250.

Joly said the sweeper was ten years old and was soon due for a replacement.

"We're required to sweep the streets to make them look good, and the state requires it for storm run-off," Joly said. The sweeper the town will acquire will, like the old one, have a vacuum system that will be used to clear catch basins.

Officials had originally budgeted $135,000 last year to replace the Water Department's 25-year-old backhoe.

Joly told members that when he put together bid specifications, he determined a wheeled excavator would be better and more versatile. He noted both the water and highway departments would be able to access the excavator when they move to the new public works facility.

Joly said the lowest bid for the excavator was about $40,000 more than expected for the backhoe replacement.

The town netted $14,100 for selling the backhoe. Those funds, along with the budgeted $27,000 first-year payment, will cover the revised $38,665 annual payment.

In other business:

Monks provided an update on water line extensions in Bennington and North Bennington. The process is ongoing and preliminary design is expected to be done in April. He said the state continues to negotiate with Saint-Gobain

Member Jeanne Connor asked about the status of the Charter Review commission. Chairman Tom Jacobs said he would like the board to take it up in April, when new members Chad Gordon and Carson Thurber will join. Gordon and Thurber were elected this month.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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