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City buys new equipment for landfill as it prepares to close

With the life of the City of Cairo’s landfill coming to a close, city councilmen took a long, hard look at lease/purchasing a new piece of equipment for the landfill at a cost of over $400,000.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton recommended to the city council this week the city lease/purchase a Caterpillar 973 track loader for a 48-month lease at $8,525 per month.
Household garbage is required to be covered by dirt daily according to city officials and the existing track loader has been in operation since 2008 and has logged over 12,000 hours of operation.
Addleton said that last June engineers projected the life of the landfill at 4.5 years and noted that the lead time to order a new track loader is six months. So, the city manager predicts the life of the landfill will be approximately 3.5 years before the new equipment is delivered.
Councilman Jerry Cox asked when the council was going to discuss the long-term plan for handling solid waste when the landfill is closed. Addleton said the council had only a few choices, either to transport the garbage and trash to landfills in Thomas or Decatur counties or to outsource the solid waste collection all together.
To bridge the gap, Addleton said the city needed the new piece of equipment. He also said at the end of the lease Yancey Caterpillar is guaranteeing a buy-back of the equipment for $94,000.
Based on average annual repair costs and estimates from Yancey to keep the existing machine running, Councilman Cox said the city could expect to spend approximately $240,000 on repairs and maintenance over the next four years. “There is a pretty good gap there,” Cox said comparing the repair estimates and the cost of the four-year lease.
Public Works Director Raymond Stokes said Cox’s concerns were valid, however he said that the heart of the machine is a computer system and if that had to be replaced the cost of keeping the machine operating would be much more than Cox was projecting. He also said that with machines of that age an issue obtaining spare parts becomes a problem.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas, who chairs the council’s finance committee, asked Stokes and Addleton if the guaranteed buy back offer would be honored if the city financed the lease through alternate options.
“A rate of 3.14 percent may be a little high,” Douglas said.
Stokes said he did not know the answer but would find out. Douglas also suggested that the city may be able to sell the equipment in four years for more than the $94,000 Yancey was guaranteeing.
Douglas said the council could approve ordering the equipment and discuss the financing options later.
The council then voted unanimously to approve ordering the new track loader.

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