Mayor lays out capital equipment needs for city

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

The city of Selma is in need of more than $1 million worth of capital equipment, according to Selma Mayor Darrio Melton.

Melton presented a maintenance plan and capital equipment request for the city’s public works, recreation and cemetery departments Tuesday night during the Selma City Council meeting.

“I know that the council voted last week to continue the 2016-2017 amended budget, but these are needs that we have as of right now,” Melton told the council. “I’m hoping that the council will find ways that we can get these things done, so we can provide services for the citizens of Selma.”

Melton said because of failing equipment, public works is constantly trying to catch up.

He said public works needs a $156,000 side cutter, three new trash trucks, which costs $444,000, two motors for clamp trucks totaling $52,000, a $244,224 dump truck, $60,000 in repairs to a sewer suction truck, a $51,400 John Deere tractor with cab, a $6,000 commercial water pump, a $30,000 stump grinder and $50,000 in repairs for a front-end loader.

Melton said the city is currently down to two trash trucks. He said three were running, but the transmission went out in one of them.

“The trucks are roughly 20 years old. When you have vehicles that old, it’s difficult not to continue having these problems,” Melton said.

“That’s why we’re trying to find ways the council can get money to lease these trucks if we possibly can lease them or fix them as best as we can.”

With summertime approaching, Melton said a new tractor with cab would allow public works to cut grass throughout the day, even during the heat of the day.

“The summer is coming up on us. The grass is going to start growing like crazy. It’s already growing like crazy,” Melton said. “We need this equipment to be able to go ahead and start executing.”

Melton said the recreation department is in need of two zero-turn lawn mowers totaling $14,448 and two F-150 super crew cab trucks at $60,000. The cemetery department needs one zero-turn lawnmower, which costs $7,224.

Councilwoman Jannie Thomas asked Melton why the city can’t just repair.

“Why make the city wait until we find money to buy the trucks,” Thomas said.

“You don’t see a million dollars to buy what you are asking for, but if we’ve got some money in maintenance, why not fix it?”

Melton said continuing to repair aged equipment is throwing money away.

“What we have witnessed over the last year is that we keep putting money in a hole. We fix the motor and then something else goes wrong with the truck,” Melton said. “It’s redundant to just continue to put money down into a hole. That’s why we think it’s important to get new trucks.”

Melton said he believes buying new equipment would be more cost effective for the city than just repairing old equipment.

There is roughly $74,000 left in public work’s maintenance fund, according to City Treasurer Ronita Wade. She said there was $120,000 budgeted.

Thomas asked Melton where he was going to find the money to buy the equipment with, and he told her it was the council’s duty to find revenue streams.