Councilman stops $97K brush cutter purchase

GREENVILLE – Councilman Clarence Godwin believed $97,000 was too much to spend for a new street bank brush cutter with an attachment that cuts up to six-inch brush. He shared his objection to purchasing the equipment at the Greenville City Council meeting on Tuesday. The new piece of equipment, according to Godwin, is remote controlled and was designed to be a safe alternative to cutting steep banks.

The purchase of the equipment was approved by members of the Finance Committee and inserted into their report to be approved by other members of council. The total appropriations for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) in the committee’s report totaled $312,489 and also included a new fire staff vehicle for $40,001, police cruiser replacement at $38,200, four 3/4-ton 4×4 truck replacements for the street department for $120,000 and snow plows to go with the trucks for $17,288.

Godwin said he discussed the proposed mower with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) who has two of the units to serve nine districts. “The reason they have two is usually because one of them is broken down,” he said. His source from ODOT thought for the price it was “crazy” for the city of Greenville to have one. “They’re expensive to maintain,” Godwin added. “If you roll it, you’re looking at $5,000 to fix it.”

Godwin offered an amendment to the committee’s report to remove the street bank brush cutter with the attachment from the report. Godwin received support from Jeff Whitaker, Doug Wright, and Leon Rogers. John Hensley, chairman of the finance committee, and Doug Schmidt, vice chairman of the committee, voted against the amendment. Whitaker is a member on the committee and supported the original report, but voted to support the amendment.

“Even though I voted yes on the amendment, I think Mr. Delk (street superintendent) should have some kind of input to council to explain his need for that piece of equipment. So everybody has a clear indicator what it’s needed for in his eyes,” said Whitaker. Council President John Burkett pointed out that is why they hold committee meetings.

Safety Service Director Curt Garrison shared the actual price of the equipment was $95,406 with half being paid through the storm water fund and the other half through CIP funds.

Godwin suggested a brush cutter could be attached to a skid loader for approximately $6,500.

The appropriations ordinance for the remaining equipment was approved unanimously later in the meeting.

In other business, council:

* Approved an ordinance to rezone 2.833 acres fronting Ohio Street, known as the Bish Discovery Center, from General Business to Special Use as requested by the Darke County Park District;

* Approved an ordinance to establish a right-of-way and electric easement for DP&L to move a utility pole and put electric wires underground at the new Urban Park; and

* Approved an ordinance vacating an alley and portions of Central Avenue and Martz Street access to Wayne HealthCare property, which is a step needed for the hospital to complete its proposed expansion project.

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