Public works hopes to add equipment to its inventory

Linda Trest

During a meeting of the Board of Aldermen held Monday, Jan. 22, a discussion was held on funds budgeted for the Public Works Department. Director Nick Grube  asked the board if they were ready for specifics on equipment he would like to purchase in 2018.

Transportation funds set aside for this year include $120,500 for equipment. $83,115 of this money came from an excess in the 2017 budget which was rolled over to 2018. In 2017, $20,000 was budgeted for street demolition. No money was budgeted for demolition this year as Grube believes the city can do its own work with the new equipment. 

Steven Lucas, attorney for the city, said that now is the time to for Grube to discuss equipment needs with the Sewer, Water and Streets committee. That committee consists of Ward 1 Alderman Steve Grugrich and Ward 2 Alderman Kevin Grube. 

Ward 1 Alderman Ruth Haase voiced her objection to Grube’s plan, “This wasn’t what the money was out there for. I don’t want you to do it,” she told Grube.

Haase was referring to a 1/2 cent sales tax passed by Gerald voters to fund more street work. 

Grugrich responded to Haase by pointing out that legal counsel has said since the equipment would be used for street work and repairs the money raised by the tax could be used. He pointed out that the city recently paid $1,822 to salt delivered. If the city purchases a larger dump truck they could have hauled the salt themselves in one trip. This would have cost the city only fuel and wages. 

Mayor Cary Parker noted that it is difficult for the board to make any decision without some firm figures in front of them. He asked those involved to bring proposals to the next meeting. 

Besides the larger dump truck, Grube is also interested in purchasing a skidsteer and a track hoe. 

The City’s backhoe blew two cylinders while replacing a recent broken water line. This resulted in renting a mini-excavator to complete the job.