Commission approves purchase of tractor mower
Marion County Commission voted unanimously Monday to purchase a tractor and mower deck, but not without hitting some snags along the way.
Road and bridge superintendent John Summerville told commissioners the tractor the county has now, spends nearly as much time being repaired as being used.
“It’s pretty much worn out,” he said.
Summerville presented bids for five tractor and mower combinations. Prairieland Partners of Marion submitted a bid of $82,917.08. Wichita Tractor Co. submitted a bid of $101,015. Sellers Equipment of Wichita submitted three bids for different combinations — $110,921, $95,681, and $75,119. The bid of $75,119 didn’t come close to meeting the county’s specifications, Summerville said.
The commissioners agreed the bid from Prairieland Partners was the best choice if they could find the funds for it.
The commissioners determined there wasn’t enough money in the road and bridge department’s equipment fund to purchase it, but there was in the sales tax fund that pays for road surface maintenance.
Commissioners Randy Dallke and Dan Holub expressed concerns about taking money from road surface maintenance for the purchase, but they agreed tall grass along the roads presented its own problems.
Commission chairman Bob Hein made the motion of the county purchasing the tractor and mower from Prairieland Partners for $82,917.08 and pay for it from the sales tax fund.
Dallke asked to amend the motion to pay $40,000 from the road and bridge department equipment fund and the remainder from the sales tax fund. Hein accepted the amendment, and the motion passed unanimously.
After leaving the commission meeting, Summerville later returned to inform commissioners that a lease payment hadn’t been accounted for in figuring how much could be funded through the equipment budget. The $40,000 the commission voted to spend wouldn’t be there.
Holub moved to repeal the earlier approval of the purchase, and Dallke seconded the motion. The repeal passed 2-1, with Hein voting against it.
Hein then moved to purchase the tractor mower entirely with money from the sales tax fund.
Dallke asked Summerville to guarantee after purchasing the tractor, the road and bridge department still could perform needed road maintenance.
“The only guarantee I can give you is that the grass won’t stop growing,” Summerville said.
The bid for the tractor was only good through Nov. 30, Summerville added.
Dallke then seconded the motion to purchase the tractor, and the motion passed unanimously.
In other business:
- County appraiser Cindy Magill told the commission the county is having difficulty letting property owners know about the county’s revitalization program. The program, which provides partial property tax refunds when improvements are made that meet certain criteria, requires an application before construction begins. Magill said too many property owners discover the program after construction has started, despite efforts of the county to inform them. Cities are doing a poor job of informing property owners of the program when building permits are issued, she said.