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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission splits on vote for weed department's UTV

Updated: May 8

By Charlene Sims, info@linncountyjournal.com


MOUND CITY – After discussing the purchase of an utility terrain vehicle (UTV) for the noxious weed department both last week and this week, Monday, April 22, the Linn County Commissioners voted 2-to-1 to allow the purchase. Commissioner Jim Johnson voted against the purchase.


Last week, Taylor presented his request with estimates for a UTV, trailer and spray rig. Discussion was held, and while Johnson said that he wasn’t for the purchase because he thought that while staff was doing a good job, he thought they could still do a better job with the equipment they have before purchasing new equipment.


But he did ask Taylor to get a price on leasing the vehicle from John Deere. The other commissioners asked that Taylor also come back with a second bid for the trailer.


In his presentation last week, Taylor explained that there were areas that the county’s truck could not reach, including areas at the Linn County Park. Those areas would have to be left unsprayed if they did not have the equipment necessary to handle the situation.


This week, Taylor explained that the prices he had given the commissioners last week for the UTV were bare bone prices and that they were only good for that day. He said after thinking about it and talking with the John Deere salesman about a lease he realized that for safety the UTV would need an enclosure and heating and cooling.


Johnson questioned how Taylor would operate the spray rig hand boom if he was inside the enclosure.


Taylor said that the enclosure would be used to protect the applicators when they were using the broadcast sprayer. He explained that like now when broadcast spraying, they keep the windows closed in the truck.


On April 22, Taylor told the commissioners about the John Deere lease program for UTVs and said that it sounded pretty good. The price for a 48-month lease was $8,357 per year and the county would be able to buy the UTV at the end of four years for $1.


Taylor said that John Deere also covered the insurance on the UTV and repairs, even coming out to pick it up and bring a replacement for the county to use while it is being repaired.


County Clerk David Lamb told the commissioners that with a lease-purchase agreement, the county basically would be taking on some debt to do that. He said that the county used to do that, but commissioners in the past had worked hard in the past to get rid of all that debt before building the Justice Center.


“Just keep in mind if you go with a lease-purchase agreement you are adding some debt back to the county that it hasn’t had in several years,” said Lamb. Later he said that it would not have that big of an effect, but there would definitely be some finance charges with the lease purchase.  


Commission Chair Jason Hightower said he was in favor of buying it outright.


Johnson pointed out that the spraying season was starting and he would like to see the county wait and look at it through the winter because then we have more months to decide what the county is going to do. 


“I don’t think we’ve researched it enough to really know what we want,” said Johnson.


“The thought I have is that we’re just putting it off for another year,” said Taylor. “I felt like we had time and that’s why I spent the time over the last two weeks researching the stuff and getting a lot of quotes.”


McCullough asked how much money was in the special equipment fund for that department and if it was listed on the equipment replacements.


Lamb said the special equipment fund had $57,528.


Hightower pointed out that it was the number one item on the plan for 2024.


Hightower then asked Taylor what his recommendation would be.


The price of the UTV Gator with an enclosure was $30,175. The total price with trailer and spray rig would be a little over $36,000. Both Hightower and McCullough agreed that it should have the enclosure.


The purchase was approved for the UTV, trailer and spray rig not to exceed $37,000 by Hightower and McCullough. 


Johnson cast the no vote, saying he thought the cost was way too high.

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