2006-08-03 / Letters to the Editor

Town's capital equipment buy a success

Congratulations are in order for Steve Goslee and Mike Gray for the excellent job they did in bidding out the new capital equipment that was approved by the council last Monday night. In addition, the support they needed from our new Town Administrator Bruce Keiser was critical to the success of this process. For the first time in a long time, the town will have the necessary construction equipment they need to do the jobs they are responsible for.

Mr. Gray scheduled demonstrations for each of the capital pieces that needed to be purchased, and he did it in such a way that each of the respective bidders saw his competitors equipment on site and was made very much aware that for each of them to be the successful bidder they were going to have to sit down with very sharp pencils. There were a number of companies that were very interested in getting these contracts, including Caterpillar, Volvo, and John Deere. It was evident that they had to be very interested or they would not have let the town demo these pieces of equipment for the extended periods of time that they did.

In addition, Kevin Deacon, the highway superintendent, and the other personnel from the DPW had the opportunity to operate the equipment, evaluate it, and make comments on the particular characteristics of each of the pieces of equipment in

question. Another very important part of this bid process was the fact that the department structured the bids so that each bidder had to make the bids allowing for trade-ins on the town's existing equipment. Lowering the actual cost to the town by thousands of dollars.

Critics might comment that we could have gotten more for some of this equipment at an auction, but the fact of the matter is that by doing it this way there is no liability to the town, and these outdated and useless pieces of equipment will have to be removed at the bidders expense. If anybody has ever noticed the 1971 track machine sitting at the dump, which has not been used in over six years, they should understand that this is one task we do not need to get ourselves involved in.

Going forward, a replacement plan should be put into effect. Whether you call it a five-year program, a seven-year or 10year program, there should be a process in place for evaluating the long-range use of this equipment. When it becomes evident that we have reached a point where we are putting more money into it and it becomes a matter of throwing good money after bad, it should be replaced. An excellent example of this is the 1981 street sweeper, which has failed to run efficiently for years. Money was spent on repairs to it and it still did not function properly, and as a result, we had to rent equipment to remove the salt from the roads after the snow season in order to protect the bay from contaminated run-off and to prepare the roads for any type of repairs.

It should also be noted at this point in time that when this new equipment arrives it has to be the responsibility of the men in the public works department to maintain it properly on a day-to-day basis. There is also a responsibility to operate it in a safe manner in order to ensure its efficiency of operation over an extended period of time.

Bill Kelly, town councilman

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