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Marion to buy paving equipment

City taking DIY approach to street repairs

Now that city crews have gotten the hang of it, Marion may be buying some additional road paving equipment which could save the city money in the long run on asphalt costs and the need to bid projects out.

Road Department supervisor Gordon Floyd told the street and drainage committee that they have an opportunity to buy a new asphalt laydown machine, small tack machine, and a new roller for $143,000.

The city bought a used parking lot paver four years ago and have used it to practice on smaller projects. City workers recently re-paved a side street next to Sonic and improved the drainage.

Floyd said the city spends $50 to $54 a ton on asphalt but it costs them $96 a ton to have a contractor lay it down.

“I think it would be money well spent,” Floyd said. “If you do the math, we would save $30 a ton doing it ourselves. I think in the first year it would pay for itself twice over.”

Floyd said if they decide to go ahead and buy the equipment, they will also need to lease another dump truck.

“Two trucks won’t keep up with it,” Floyd said.

Floyd said he spoke to a sales representative was told it will cost between $3,000 and $3,500 a month to lease a Mack dump truck.

He suggested the city lease a truck for six months.

“If you hire a truck, you’re looking at $650 a day,” Floyd said. “So my suggestion would be to lease one for six months. That way you won’t have it sitting there in the winter months paying a note on it.”

Mayor Frank Fogleman asked whether the city might be able to lease one for three months.

Floyd said the quote he got was for six months, and has not checked the cost to lease a Freightliner or an International truck.

“He (Mack dealer) said he would go six months,” Floyd said. “You could lease it the first of April or the first of May and go May, June, July. But August, September October — they stop running asphalt in November and don’t start up until April.”

Fogleman asked whether Mack was aware that the city was going to use the truck to haul asphalt, which is difficult to clean out.

“He understands what we are leasing it for,” Floyd answered. “We would have to clean it up and take good care of it.”

Fogleman said the only drawback he sees to buying the equipment is that it will likely take the city longer to pave projects than it would if you contracted the job out because they are busy with other projects.

“It would go slower with Gordon,” Fogleman said.

“Instead of four streets we might only get in three. A contractor goes faster. We may have to do a smaller chunk at a time.”

Councilman David Bigger said he would like to see the city spend the money on the equipment and do it right.

“If we are going to pave, let’s do it right,” Bigger said. “I don’t want to see us buy something and let it set. If we’re going to spend the money, let’s use it.”

Councilman Jim Spence agreed.

“Sounds like we need to move in that direction,” Spence said.

Floyd said the new laydown machine is diesel powered, has four burners, an automatic crown on it, and can lay down 26 feet of asphalt on two passes.

“I would try to do one project a week in the summer,” Floyd said. “When I say projects, that would be L.H. Polk to the tracks.

And then the next week I would do the other half.”

Fogleman said he would do some more research on whether the city can afford to buy the equipment this year and report back to the city council.

“We will do some more digging to see if we can buy the equipment,” Fogleman said. “It may be something for next year. We’re going to have a dump truck on top of that. The lease on the dump truck is going to push it to over $160,000.

But if we can save $30 a ton on asphalt, this stuff would pay for itself. It’s food for thought.”

By Mark Randall