Pct. 3 equipment debate to continue at Monday session
Polk County Enterprise - January 2008
LIVINGSTON —The debate over how to equip the Polk County Precinct 3 Road and Bridge Department will rage on for at least one more week.
A Volvo Motor Grader, a 318 Caterpillar excavator, and two 140 Caterpillar motor graders previously declared as surplus equipment were sold in an online auction with a total sales price of $619,400.
The auction proceeds are $70,000 greater than the trade-in offer by Romco Equipment Company, but still at least $30,000 short of the amount owed on the equipment, county records show.
The Precinct 3 equipment debate began in November when Commissioner Buddy Purvis asked commissioners to approve a buyboard purchase and equipment trade-in that would have amounted to refinancing $100,000 in debt with the equipment purchase.
The four pieces of equipment were listed for sale on an online auction site under contract with the county after County Judge John Thompson and County Auditor Ray Stelly told Purvis that the county could not refinance debt.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Buddy Purvis expressed his objections to the delay the auction would cause in completing the equipment purchase. Purvis said his main priority was to get rid of the excavator because it “can’t work four full days a week.”
“I want it off my yard even if I have to go $200,000 in debt,” Purvis said.
One of the Caterpillar motor graders, which were purchased in June 2005, drew 64 bids and the other 65. They sold for $199,000 each to Mustang Cat, $19,000 over the trade-in offer.
The excavator drew offers from 15 online bidders and sold for $139,000 to CMR Railroad Salvage. Romco had offered $75,000 trade-in allowance.
The Volvo motor grader got a single bid for $115,000, the minimum set by the county, from Hoss Equipment.
The winning bids totaled $625,000 and the online auction service will receive a 5 percent fee for handling the sale, which means the county received an additional $70,000 over the trade-in offer, Stelly said.
Stelly also pointed out that the graders sold for $8,000 more than the purchase price paid in June 2005.
“On the other hand, the Volvo motor grader that we purchased in April 2004 for $184,000 sold for $115,000,” Stelly said. “I would encourage the court to think of these results and the market value in deciding what equipment to purchase to replace these,” Stelly said.
Despite the fact the auction drew more resale value, it still falls short of the amount owed on the equipment.
There was no item on Tuesday’s agenda to consider purchasing new equipment.
After Purvis expressed his dissatisfaction at having to wait until the next regular meeting to address the equipment purchase, Pct. 1 Commissioner Bob Willis asked if the measure could be handled in a telephone meeting.
District Attorney Lee Hon and Bond Counselor Tom Pollan both advised against a telephone meeting. Pollan told commissioners that the provision in state law that allowed for telephone meetings were limited to extreme circumstances like Hurricane Rita when issues affecting the imminent health and safety of the county needed to be decided and the court may be unable to gather in one location.
Judge Thompson added that a meeting can be called with 72 hours notice that would avoid the circumstance of holding a meeting by telephone that people can attend.
A called meeting to discuss equipment purchase will be held at 9 a.m. Monday in the Commissioners Courtroom.