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Friday August 26th, 2016 12:58AM

Banks County buys more than $820,000 in heavy equipment

By Rob Moore Reporter
  Contact Editor
HOMER - The Banks County Commission is upgrading the county's heavy equipment fleet at a cost of more than $820,000.<br /> <br /> This week, the commission approved the lease purchase of five pieces of Caterpillar equipment from Yancey Brothers. <br /> <br /> Those units include a new excavator for $54,540; backhoe for $101,913; wheel loader for $159,796; and two motor graders, for $252,841 each, for a grand total of $821,931.<br /> <br /> The equipment is for the county's water distribution and road departments.<br /> <br /> All the money being spent is from the county's budget, not sales tax proceeds.<br /> <br /> Commission Vice Chairman Charles Turk said county leaders feel the four-year lease purchase option best serves the needs of county departments, and is the most responsible use of taxpayer money.<br /> <br /> "We felt like it's a little more economically feasible to lease a lot of this, especially motorgraders, that we run a whole lot and turn them in about every four years," Turk said. "What we found out is that most of the time at the end of four years the tires start getting worn out and you start having maintenance problems."<br /> <br /> Turk and other commissioners want to ensure they have usable equipment available when it's needed.<br /> <br /> "If we renew it about every four years and get a new piece in, we don't have any down time," Turk said. "It's so critical that you hit these roads at the exact time when they're not too wet, not too dry and you can kind of run them pretty good."<br /> <br /> Similarly, Turk said the water department needs a reliable excavator when repairs are required to a water line or hydrant.<br /> <br /> "It's just a whole lot cheaper, we feel like, in the long run to lease it and turn it back in," Turk said.<br /> <br /> The $821,931 expenditure could be less, depending on trade-in allowances on the equipment the county is turning in, according to Banks County Finance Director Randy Failyer.
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