A change in a grant application might allow the Transit Authority of Warren County to acquire a tractor to handle their own snow plowing needs.
TAWC Director John Aldrich informed the Authority board during Thursday's meeting that the $102,666 Capital Grant included excess funding for a resurfacing project, requiring the Authority to submit an amendment to the grant.
Of the total, $65,000 is allocated for a new bus. Aldrich said that that amount is "more than adequate for the bus." The parking lot resurfacing project is estimated at $7,000, according to documentation provided to the board.
That leaves approximately $30,000 unallocated. Aldrich proposed using the extra funding to get a "small to mid-size" tractor to plow the lot. He explained that plowing costs have often exceeded $5,000 in a year with high snow accumulation. Using those numbers, the tractor would take pay for itself rather quickly.
And there's another added benefit.
"(We) can do it when we need it done," Aldrich said, explaining that there are times when response time for the contracted provider could extend for several hours. He indicated that the Authority would seek attachments for the tractor including a bucket to move plowed snow as well as a spreader to have the capacity to sand the lot on their own. He also noted that a tractor with attachments would be easier to store than a truck with a plow.
Aldrich told the board that each time they called the contractor for plowing, the Authority would be billed $60 for plowing and $60 for sand spreading, adding that the sanding was done every time the plowing was done because of a liability concern.
He explained that the Authority would be responsible for providing the sand, which was the responsibility of the contractor before, and said that there is space in the Authority garage to store sand in the corners.
The purchase likely wouldn't have to go out for bid, Aldrich explained, if they can purchase the equipment off of an existing state contract.
The board encouraged Aldrich to continue down this path. However, Aldrich said that the Authority hasn't received notice from the state that the amendment to include this purchase has been approved.