By Valerie Reddell
The Ivanhoe City Council approved the purchase of a used maintainer to help make repairs to city streets.
Currently, city crews are renting a maintainer and operator for $672 per day.
Public works supervisor David Marshall pointed out that in 90 days, the city would spend $20,160.
The used maintainer that Marshall located, a trusted colleague examined, and council approved to purchase has a price tag of $29,500. Delivery charges will add an $1,500 to $1,700.
Marshall described the maintainer as a 1989 John Deere 570B, 24 feet long with a naturally aspirate engine that has 575 operating hours.
The Bar H Ranch near Dalhart used the maintainer for road maintenance.
In response to a question from Councilman Mark Peterson, Marshall said TxDOT operates many maintainers with 10,000 to 12,000 hours on them.
The purchase also remains within the budget for capital expenses.
Earlier in the year, the city purchased a dump truck for $20,000. These two pieces of equipment working in tandem will allow the public works crews to continue to improve the base on the city's 46 miles of roadway.
Since putting the dump truck in service, Marshall said his crews have spread 36 tons of material to roads.
Then last week's rainfall dumped another 10 inches of rain in 16 hours, but that event allowed Marshall to make an assessment on what base materials will work best.
Marshall filled some potholes with green glauconite and used crushed concrete commonly referred to as washout in others.
"The washout was gone and the green glauconite stayed put," Marshall said
In developing a plan of attack, Marshall divided the city into four quadrants and evaluated needed repairs into A, B and C priority levels. The crew will spend one week out of four in each quadrant attacking repairs in order of priority.
Once the maintainer arrives, someone will be operating that equipment eight hours a day, four days a week.
Bennett and Herrington spend much of last week's public hearing discussing various ways the city can use the bond package to obtain grants using the bonds as a local match.
In some cases, one grant can be used as local matching funds for other grants — further extending the roadway that can be rehabilitated.
Although a map was circulated at the first town hall meeting held in March, Bennett said they are continuing to have conversations about which portions of the road will be addressed first.
"Everything is still up for grabs, from the front all the way to the back," Bennett said.
Consulting Engineer Allen Sims of LJA Engineering addressed one suggestion that the city order a traffic study to determine which streets see the most traffic.
Sims said the equipment needed for the traffic study that most people are acquainted with comes at a cost of $100 per day. Two are needed for each roadway for a minimum of three days.
"I estimate 35 roads would need to be studied, so you would be looking at $25,000 to $30,000 in equipment rental and another $10,000 to have the data analyzed," Sims said.
Sims said he often uses a less expensive method of determining relative traffic counts by counting rooftops from a map of the city. A final option that is no longer used much is to hire someone that will sit alongside the road and click a counter each time a car drives by.
Herrington pointed out that all residents have a right to speak their mind, and urged Ivanhoe citizens to continue expressing their thoughts — but maybe those thoughts could be expressed in a more positive — or even neutral — manner.
"The best part of Ivanhoe is here in this room — it's the people," Herrington said. "I ask you, when you go home time, ask yourself if you would spend that amount of your time and effort — just to get your butt ripped up?"
Each council member receives a stipend of $10 a meeting, and they must be present to get the stipend.
TML regulations require that the elected officials receive some form of payment — gratuitous as it may be — to qualify for insurance.
CDBG grants became available April 6.
Sims said the timeline for those grants includes a 14-day comment period, a 30-day implementation period, 60 days to take applications and 90 days to review the applications.
Sixty-five percent of those grants will be tagged for housing, and 35 percent will fund infrastructure.
If voters approve the bond package, those funds can be used for a match, even before the bonds are sold.
Bennett pointed out that they will put off the sale of those bonds for as long as 12 to 18 months to minimize the interest expense.
"We're not going to sell the bonds, and have the proceeds just sit in the bank," Bennett added.
City officials have been battling against a number of myths regarding the bond project and other city operations.
Bennett dismissed a number of myths circulating on social media and through other sources. One false report states that the mayor and City Marshal Terry Riley are about to be arrested.
Another claims that Bennett and other council members will "get rich" off the projects. Bennett pointed out that all grant projects are thoroughly audited.
Bennett said she has reached out to a few of the people who administer groups on Facebook, but none of them have accepted her invitation to talk face to face and learn more about city operations.
Another town hall meeting on the road bonds is set for Saturday, April 21.