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Paonia trustees approve purchase of new leaf vac

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The streets and gutters of Paonia will get some much-needed attention after trustees approved the purchase of a new Kubota SCL800TM leaf vac from Rocky Mountain Supply Co. in Palisade.

Cost of the fully self-contained unit is $42,444, which is below the $45,000 allocated in the 2017 budget for a new leaf vac. Of the three bids the town received from two different companies, the Kubota was the lowest priced unit.

The town has been without a functioning leaf vac going on six years, and the trustees have debated whether to purchase a new unit or repair the old leaf vac numerous times over the past two years. Trustee David Bradford has been one of the strongest proponents for a new leaf vac. Bradford knows how much work is required to do the job without the proper equipment and has organized his church members to clean gutters for parishioners who are physically unable to do the job themselves.

The EPA also has a requirement for dealing with storm water, said Bradford, who, despite a desire to spend a little less money, made the motion to approve the purchase. "If we don't start dealing with junk going through the sewer system, we're going to be in trouble sooner or later," he said.

Trustee Bill Brunner suggested the town look into purchasing a smaller, less expensive unit that could load debris into a truck. The town has a trailer-mounted unit that was about 30 horsepower, said public works director Travis Loberg, but it is both labor- and time-intensive to operate, requires additional machinery to get the job done. It is also in need of about $10,000 in repairs. The Kubota is fully self-contained and can be pulled with any of the town's vehicles, so no special vehicle will be required, said Loberg.

Town administrator Ken Knight defended the purchase, calling the unit "the best piece of equipment for the job." Some of the smaller, less expensive units could very well work on smaller properties, but when dealing with an entire city, "a commercial unit like this is probably going to be your best investment in the long term."

Loberg said the equipment will take six to eight weeks to arrive. Once it arrives, crews will begin clearing debris from curbs and gutters. Loberg said parked cars could slow progress, and that residents can help out by moving cars if they see their street is being worked on.

Also at the March 14 meeting trustees tabled a vote on three bids for the town's Water System Improvement projects to TSM Construction, LLC, of Crawford. TSM bid $300,670.89 to replace 2,192 linear feet of water line on Third Street from Grand Avenue to the railroad tracks; $181,397.51 to replace 1,100 LF of waterline on Box Elder from Second to Fourth Streets; and $262,085.26 to replace 2,364 LF of pipeline from the tracks on Third Street to Lamborn Avenue and over to Second Street. The contract includes a 10 percent contingency.

Project engineer Brandyn Bair with SGM in Glenwood Springs recommended awarding the job to the low bidder. After concerns arose regarding an addendum to the contract, trustees voted to table the vote to the March 28 meeting to allow Loberg to clear the matter up with engineers and the contractor.

Funding comes from low-interest loans from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority and from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, with matching funds from the town.

Work is expected to begin in early April.

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