City council approves
sweeper deal, talks budget cuts
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 6:17 AM
Public Utilities Director Paul Morken came to the Spring Grove City Council on April 2 with a purchase request.
"We've been looking for a new (street) sweeper for the past 2-3 years," Morken said.
"The problem is, as soon as we find one, it gets sold before we can get a deal made. Sweepers are disappearing real fast, because no one wants to pay $160,000 for a brand-new street sweeper."
Morken said he had located two 2007 models for sale. His preferred choice was from Sweeper Services LLC in Minneapolis for an Elgin Pelican P with 3,000 hours and 14,800 miles for $80,000.
After wrangling with the dealer, he reported negotiating the price down to $65,000 plus tax and trade.
"Are we going to extend the shelf life on a lot of equipment?" councilmember Nancy Nelson asked.
"With our old sweeper, every time we use it, it breaks down," Morken explained. "It has a chain drive, kind of like an old combine. This (newer) sweeper has hydrostatic drives."
"All I'm asking for is the council's direction. By the time I get back with them, it may have already sold."
"I don't think you'll get it any cheaper," Mayor Bruce Poole noted.
"We need a cap on what we're going to pay," Nelson said. "It'd be OK if it doesn't exceed $65,000 in cash."
According to packet documents, the city has already saved $61,300 toward the replacement of its 1994 Elgin sweeper.
Morken said he had already talked the dealership down as low as they were willing to go. The sales tax was one thing they would not budge on.
Councilmember Lorilyn Dehning motioned to purchase the machine if it's still available. Seconded by councilmember Robert Vogel, it passed with a single "no" vote from Nelson.
Line-by-line review begins
Earlier in the meeting, Nelson presented a series of comments on the 2013 budget, including three pages of handwritten notes and a marked-up copy of the document. The budget print out is approximately 40 pages long.
Discussion lasted for about an hour, but no specific changes were voted on.
Nelson favored shifting approximately $40,000 into a contingency fund.
Dehning offered to work on putting together a different, simplified budget document, but added, "I'm a little worried about the contingencies. I'm not sure there's all that extra money out there."
"I think what we need to do is set up a special meeting," Poole said, adding that City Hall would be the best venue, since the computers that hold the data are there.
"I want to understand how much money we have and where it's at," he said.
"You're talking about rearranging all the chairs in the budget, and Bruce is talking about the actual money," councilmember Robert Vogel told Nelson.
She replied that reallocating funds is only part of the changes she wants.
"It's easy for me to see this because this is like the seventh year that I've done this budget, and I kind of forget that it's not so easy for someone who's never done it before," Nelson stated.
The date and time for an extra meeting was not set.