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— Town council members approved two major purchases for Highfill at the Nov. 10 council meeting - a compact tractor with attachments and a new police vehicle.

The purchase of a compact tractor with a frontend loader and mower was approved at a cost of approximately $18,500 to be paid for by the city, without interest, over five years. The tractor comes with a six-foot finish mower, five-foot brush hog, five-foot box blade, is fourwheel drive and is covered by a five-year warranty.The only attachment not included is a backhoe, which the town could purchase later. Because it does not exceed the 2,500-pound weight limit, it could be used for mowing the drip field at the wastewater treatment plant and for light mowing and work in town where a larger tractor could not be used.

Approval was also given for Police Chief Jack Sanders to order a new patrol vehicle. Approval was given at the November meeting, but delivery will not be until early 2010 - three months after the patrol vehicle is ordered, according to Sanders.

Sanders told the council he intended to order a four-door, four-wheeldrive pickup truck for the department so that officers would be able to respond to locations on country roads and be ableto get around in winter weather.

The pickup truck would be purchased at a state-bid price, with money coming out of a savings account the police department has for major equipment purchases which is funded through a fee assessed by the courts along with traffic fines. Sanders estimated his account had close to $30,000 in it and was increasing by close to $3,000 per month.

The council approved up to $30,000 for the truck purchase and for equipping the new unit.

With James Wiand absent, the vote on the purchase was split 2-2, with Toby Lester and Keven Varner voting in favor of the purchase, and Sandy Evans and Richard Boles voting no. Mayor Holland broke the tie and cast the deciding vote in favor of the purchase.

Sanders said the department’s Dodge Durango has close to 100,000 miles on it and would be used as a reserve vehicle when the new truck arrives and is equipped.

In other business, thecouncil approved applying for a $50,000 block grant to be used by the fire department to buy new turnout gear for the department. If awarded in full, the town would be responsible for 10 percent of the grant amount - $5,000, which Fire Chief Jeremy Jackson said would come from the department’s savings account for turnout gear.

Read by title only on its second reading was an ordinance making it criminal trespassing to be in the town’s park and in violation of park rules. The ordinance comes back to the council for its third and final reading in December.

Request was made during the open public hearing and later by Boles for more detail and explanation in department reports as to what work is being completed.

“We’re responsible for the city’s money,” Boles said, “and when I see the reports from the departments, it doesn’t look like we’re getting our buck’s worth.”

News, Pages 6 on 11/18/2009

Print Headline: Highfill purchases mini-tractor, patrol truck

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