County to pay $1 million for new heavy equipment

By Toni Gibbons

Navajo County will be paying out $1 million for the purchase of new road equipment to address the concern of decades old equipment in need of repaires. The Navajo County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a new 2017 Caterpillar 950M wheel loader and three 2018 120M2 Caterpillar motor graders for a total expenditure of $1,086,894 at their meeting on Nov. 28.

Jeanine Carruthers, Deputy Director of Public Works Administration, first requested approval for the purchase of a 2017 Caterpillar wheel loader. The total cost for the loader with a trade-in of a 1978 CAT 950 wheel loader is $274,325.  The purchase will be made through Empire Machinery in Show Low.

Because Navajo County has a cooperative purchasing agreement with the City of Tucson, who has a contract with Caterpillar, Inc., and is registered with the National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance, they are able to receive a purchase price that would normally only be offered to those who are able to buy a greater quantity.

The trade-in value of the old loader is $10,000, which is considered fair since the machine needs $12,000- $15,000 worth of repairs.  Research on a similar make and model lists the value at approximately $21,000 in excellent condition.

Public Works originally budgeted $325,000 for the purchase of the loader under Construction Equipment for the 2018 fiscal year, and as Carruthers noted, “This is a cost savings of approximately $50,000.”

Supervisor Dawnafe Whitesinger did take a moment to thank Carruthers, “For the time invested in looking up the numbers and understanding the need that we have in being able to replace the heavy equipment. Trying to play the numbers and balance it out is really important.  We appreciate you and all those that worked on it.”

After the board approved the purchase of the loader, Carruthers then presented for approval the purchase of three motor graders for $812,568.

As with the loader, the same contract would be used to purchase the graders through Empire Machinery in Show Low with an old 1980 140G Caterpillar motor grader will be used as a trade-in in the amount of $30,500.

The old grader needs approximately $5,000 to $8,000 worth of repairs and after research it was found that a similar grader in good condition costs about $38,000.

Originally, the Public Works Department had budgeted for a seven year lease of three graders at the cost of $90,000 per year, but with additional research on the part of Carruthers and her staff, it became apparent that the county would save $130,000 in interest over the seven year period and still have the machines for continued use, if they did an outright purchase.

Carruthers said, “We have included in this year’s budget for CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) projects for fiscal year 2019 the amount of $1.4 million.  We would like to utilize these funds, which are also in the Capital Outlay category, to cover the additional money needed to purchase the motor graders instead of leasing.”

She also noted that the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) has exceeded its budget by three percent; additionally Public Works received a one-time HURF restoration payout of $328,982, so there would be no impact on future budgets.

In response to Carruthers’ presentation, Navajo County Manager Glenn Kephart commented, “The easy route would have been to do what was planned (the leasing of equipment). The better path (the outright purchase) has been a little more difficult and has taken time and the need to change course.”

In other business, the board approved the 2018 committee board appointments of:

Supervisor Steve Williams to the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission and Arizona Public Safety Retirement System.

Williams and Navajo County Assistant Manager Paul Watson to the Northeastern Arizona Innovative Workforce Solutions.

Supervisor Jesse Thompson to the Arizona State Transportation Board Arizona/New Mexico, Little Colorado Community Development Corporation and Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Tribal Policy Advisory Committee.

Thompson and Supervisor Lee Jack to the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee.

Thompson and Watson to theNACOG Economic Development Council.

Thompson and Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark to the North Region Homeland Security.

Supervisor Jason Whiting, Legislative Policy Committee to the NACo Public Lands Steering Committee.

Whiting and Executive Director at Eastern Arizona Counties Organization Pascal Berlioux to the Coalition of Counties and Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project.

Whiting, Berlioux and Watson to the Arizona New Mexico Coalition of Counties and 4-FRI Stakeholders.

Whiting and Watson to the Real AZ Corridor.

Whiting and Sheriff Clark to the NACOG Community Action Board.

Whiting, Williams and Watson to the Natural Resources Working Group.

Whitesinger to First Things First White Mountain Apache Tribe Regional Partnership Council, NACo Human Services & Education Steering Committee, Sunrise Park Resort Board and White Mountain Youth Corp Advisory Board.

Whitesinger and Jack to the NACOG Regional Council.

Whitesinger and Williams to the White Mountain Regional Transportation Committee.