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Bulky gear vexes Orchard City staff

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The Orchard City Town Board may be close to deciding what to do with a new piece of equipment the town bought earlier this year that isn't performing as promised.

The town purchased the $6,900 road shouldering side dresser with expectations that it would cut in half the number of man-hours need for the labor-intensive task of maintaining road shoulders.

But the machine has given public works staff nothing but headaches as fix after fix intended to adapt it to existing town equipment has ultimately failed.

The side dresser is supposed to mount to the bed of a dump truck. Using a side-directed conveyor, the device lays down a seamless course of gravel along the sides of roads. Trustees saw huge savings in manpower costs and hoped to cut the job of shouldering roads from four men and three pieces of heavy equipment to two men and the truck-mounted side dresser. But for various reasons the equipment simply doesn't work with the town's trucks.

After many discussions and failed workarounds, trustees are now looking to buy a used truck that the side dresser can be successfully mounted to. It is simply not designed to work on any of the town's current fleet of vehicles, trustees have at last concluded.

As a result, even though the town is still looking forward to eventual cost savings, a $60,000 item has been added to the 2016 budget to buy a heavy truck that works with the side dresser. The proposed budget includes $30,000 from the road fund and the same amount from the water fund to pay for the truck. Trustees are scheduled to adopt the 2016 town budget on Dec. 9.

During a work session on Dec. 2, trustees also reflected on the condition of some of the town's older equipment and considered sending it to the used truck market.

In other action at the Dec. 2 work session, the following items were discussed.

• A town board complaint about advice from the Colorado Municipal League on dealing with effects of human-caused global warming has brought a response from the CML director, Sam Mamet. He asked if he could come in person and make a presentation on the programs the CML offers its member local governments.

The visit is scheduled for after the first of the year. Town staff has been directed to withhold payment of the town's $1,292 annual CML dues until after they hear what the CML's director has to say, even though by doing so the town will lose a $38 credit for early payment of its annual dues bill.

• The Centennial Wall rebuilding project will not be completed until next year due to the onset of winter weather.

• Trustees will consider removing pavement crack sealing from the budget for town hall parking lot and two subdivisions in favor of spending money on road work that is more pressing.

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