The Boonville City Council is considering whether to buy a second mini-excavator, which could help crews keep projects moving instead of waiting around for other departments to finish using the popular tool.
The city bought its only mini excavator two years ago, and it’s shared by the Parks and Public Works departments. The excavator is used almost constantly, and projects can get delayed while one department waits to use it, Boonville Public Works Director M.L. Cauthon said.
The excavator is used by Parks for a lot of fencing jobs that an auger can’t handle, and for picking up and moving equipment for projects like the construction of the soccer field, Cauthon said. Public Works used it to fix a water main, and will need it to extend sewer lines to the Hail Ridge Golf Course clubhouse.
A handful of times over the past six months, the city had to rent an additional excavator to keep projects moving along. Cauthon said he tries to rent them in weekly blocks because they give the city more flexibility than renting by the month. Still, between tracking one down and transporting it, getting a rental isn’t a quick process.
The city received four bids for an excavator, with Bobcat of Columbia offering the two lowest bids: $82,671.12 for a Bobcat E85 excavator and $90,500 for a Takeuchi TB290.
The main function of an excavator is to dig, but a dozer blade on the back allows it to backfill and grade. Without the dozer blade, crews would need a skid-steer machine to do that, Cauthon said. “Now we have another machine we’re moving around and taking away from other projects” he said.
Some excavators have their blades fixed going straight across the front, but others allow the operator to change the angle of the blade. That let’s them be more specific with how they grade, Cauthon said. The Bobcat doesn’t have an angle blade, so Cauthon recommended buying the Takeuchi.
The purchase came up at the April 15 Boonville City Council meeting, but Third Ward Councilman Brent Bozarth asked to delay a vote on it until he could see more detailed specifications on the four options.
The council voted 4-2 to postpone a decision on the excavator, with First Ward Councilman Steve Young and Third Ward Councilman Whitney Venable opposed to the delay. The council will again consider the purchase at its May 6 meeting.