Village Trustees approve funding for new DPW mini excavator

CAT excavator
Photo of what the village’s new Caterpillar mini excavator will look like.

The Village Board of Trustees passed a resolution Tuesday (May 20) authorizing financing of a new $110,000 mini excavator it is purchasing for use by the Department of Public Work.

The machine — a 2014 Caterpillar 308E2-CRSB — will enable DPW crews to take on large projects the village has been forced to pay contractors to do in the past or pay to lease equipment to complete such jobs as installing fire hydrants and repairing water main breaks.

“All indicators are that this is a win-win situation (for the village),” said Trustee Timothy Campbell, who researched and recommended the purchase. “I want the taxpayers to know that we have looked into every aspect of this and they will, in the long run, save money and it also guarantees the water to continue to flow into their homes.”

Weighing the need

The village began looking into the need to have its own excavator after a fire hit Main Street last fall, Campbell explained. After a hydrant was damaged the DPW began looking into the the overall condition of the village’s 1936 installed water system.

“We found that we had five hydrants that needed replacing and currently two main water line shut off valves that need replacing because they won’t close, with a possibility of more as we start exercising all our water shut off valves,” he said.

The village also needs to do some major storm water drainage ditch work along the old canal and on Colonial Road, and plans are in the works to convert the old tennis court into a children’s playground with picnic tables and charcoal grills, meaning the tennis court must be excavated.

“An excavator is the machine that can do all of the aforementioned and more, and is the best piece of equipment for a water main break, bar none,” Campbell said. “But the question was, where do we obtain one? The Town has one, but would it always be available to us when we needed it? We could rent one and wait until it shows up, if available, while people are without water, or we could contract all of our jobs out. Considering everything, we realized the best solution was to buy our own.”

The Town of Stillwater has the same make and model as the excavator the village is buying, giving the two municipalities the ability to share attachments as well as common parts in the event of a breakdown.

Getting the best finance rate

Tuesday’s resolution calls for issuing bonds to pay for the excavator or entering into a fixed rate installment loan for five years. The village opted to go with a loan from Caterpillar Financial Services Corp at an interest rate of 2 percent because other rates were higher. Fixed rates on the bonds came in at 3 percent and two banks offered loan rates of 2.34 percent and 2.86 percent, respectively.

The village also saved about $35,000 on the overall $145,700 manufacturer’s list price for the excavator by “piggybacking” on a bid awarded offered to another municipality in Arizona through what is known as a “cooperative purchase agreement.”

The excavator should be in service by the end of May.

In other business, Code Enforcement Officer Lawrence Allen reported that the Stillwater Stewart’s Shop has completed a three-month project to expand its lot on Hudson Avenue to improve traffic flow and allow better access to the gas pump areas.

“We’re just waiting for the final paperwork,” he said.

Stewart’s presented plans to the Village Board back in January to increase the lot size after the company purchased a two-story, two-family home adjacent to the store and tore it down. The store’s underground pumps were later dug up, removed and replaced with a new 15,000-gallon gasoline holding tank and a 6,000-gallon tank to hold diesel fuel. The Stillwater Stewart’s did not offer diesel fuel before.

The company has also installed or plans to install new energy efficient LED lighting, a new 20 X 40-foot canopy and electronic sign, a larger vehicle entrance to the Stewart’s lot and replacement of some of the sidewalk areas.

Village Trustees also heard the following reports/updates on May 20:

  • The Fire Department responded to two alarms in April and conducted five drills during the month, with 42 members attending.
  • Code Enforcement Officer Allen issued a permit for a new home on Newland Road and another for a swimming pool.
  • Department of Public Works crews were busy in April and May cleaning out the catch basin behind the Post Office, fixing a leak at the Saratoga Hills tank site, installing water meters, forming sidewalks on Hudson Avenue, repairing lawns after winter plowing, mowing grass, and tending to other routine matters. The DPW also gave a special note of thanks to Matt Rifenburgh for his time and effort correcting a slow settling sludge problem at the village Waste Water Treatment Plant.