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Council undecided what to do about piece of landfill equipment

The city’s 2006 John Deere 200 Excavator, which is used primarily at the city landfill, has suffered hydraulic failure and on Monday night the Cairo mayor and council had a lengthy and thoughtful discussion of whether to replace it or repair it.
After much discussion and debate, the council voted to table action on the matter.
Public Works Director Raymond Stokes and Kevin Hester, a John Deere representative with Flint Equipment, submitted four options for the council to consider.
Flint Equipment is offering the city $40,000 trade-in value and would pay the city upfront. Stokes said that since a purchase was not budgeted, the $40,000 cash could be used to cover the lease payments on the new piece of equipment until the 2019-2020 budget is adopted next spring.
Stokes reminded the council that the excavator is a primary piece of equipment that will be used to cap off the city landfill that is being closed. The equipment would also be used to cover the commercial and demolition trenches at the landfill, which must be done every 30 days.
Estimates to repair the 2006 model range from $20,000 to $25,000 and the John Deere representative said that additional work would be required in the near future, including the undercarriage replacement and major pins and tracks.
Councilman Jerry Cox questioned the need to purchase a new piece of equipment when the city could invest $50,000 in the existing equipment and operate it for approximately 10 more years.
Hester credited the city for its care and maintenance of the equipment making it last as long as it has. According to the salesman, the usual life is eight to 10 years.
Councilman Lannis Thornton suggested the city take the chance on repairing the existing unit and making do with it, rather than purchasing a new one since the need for the equipment will diminish as the landfill is closed.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas questioned what the interest rate is on the lease, and Hester said approximately four percent. Douglas said the city could finance the purchase cheaper if the decision was made to purchase a new model. Hester said the $40,000 trade-in offer was valid, regardless of how the purchase was financed.
Councilman Demario Byrden said rather than investing in new equipment, the city should also look at investing more in its employees. He questioned some of the hourly rates of city employees who have more than 15 years of service. “It’s all about budgeting and I would like to see us do more for our employees,” Byrden said.
City Manager Chris Addleton said the city council had made progress in improving the wages for city workers, but noted “there is always room for improvement.”
Byrden and Mayor Booker Gainor predict that in the coming years the city will face a crisis as some of the department heads and middle managers retire.
“Don’t ever think someone else can’t fill your job,” Councilman Lannis Thornton commented.

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