CLAYTON — A resolution authorizing the city manager to purchase 2017 Bobcat T870 compact track loader through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services at a cost not to exceed $85,000 was approved by city council.
“I just have one question,” Vice Mayor Tim Gorman posed. “I know Bobcat is a trade name. Does Caterpillar make comparable equipment? Is the Caterpillar equivalent in the state bid list?”
Public Safety Director Darrell “Randy” Sanders acknowledged that Caterpillar makes a comparable model, but at a slightly higher cost.
“Yes. It is just a little bit higher, within about $10,000 probably,” Sanders said. “The only difference between a Bobcat and a Caterpillar is that a whole lot more attachments will come with the Bobcat than the Caterpillar.”
Gorman pointed out the fact that the Clayton-based Caterpillar Distribution Warehouse is a local business that directly supports the local economy.
“OK, but we get a lot more money from Caterpillar than we get from Bobcat,” Gorman said. “I don’t know where Bobcat is made at. I don’t have a clue Randy.”
Sanders stated that the state bid contract allows the city to obtain the needed equipment at a much cheaper price.
“I couldn’t tell you the Caterpillar is for sure on that state bid contract, but they were last year,” Sanders stated.
“It might be something that we’d like to look into to see if they are comparable. If you know they are not, that’s a different story,” Gorman replied.
One of the features of the Bobcat that appeals to Sanders is the “skid steer.” Sanders, a former employee of the Ohio Department of Transportation, was part of the ODOT Research Program approximately four years ago. ODOT used a skid steer and mulching head attachment on a Bobcat to mulch a 12 acre swath of honeysuckle.
“It was performed in about three or four days to clean that area with one person and to clear a similar area with several guys and chain saws it took them over three weeks, so it is a handy piece of equipment to have and we have multiple attachments that can be used for shared services as well,” Sanders said. “It is a machine that I was begging to get a couple years ago, so it is good to get the funding for it.”
“When you say shared services, what do you mean by that?” asked Mayor Joyce Deitering.
Sanders explained that there are several government agencies that have the attachments that come with the Bobcat. He said the particular model Clayton would be purchasing comes with a stump grinder attachment.
“As you well know we are sitting on about 150 to 200 dead trees in our parks, so this has the stump grinder attachment,” Sanders said. “If somebody else wants to use that stump grinder attachment we keep our machine and they get to use the attachment, so there is 50 to 60 attachments we can use.”
Deitering wanted to know what “someone else” meant. Sanders said it meant ODOT or other area cities could use it.
“Everybody has this piece of equipment and they have multiple attachments for it and they can share these attachments through the cities and through ODOT so that we don’t have to go rent the attachment,” Sanders explained. “The attachments aren’t super expensive to rent. The machine itself is kind of the cost and we just don’t have the machine. It is not going to do us any good to borrow the attachments without the machine.”
Gorman asked if this machine was going to help with the ditch problem that the city has. He was referring to the fact that several ditches in the city have either filled in due to erosion or that residents have installed clay tiles in formerly open ditches and have covered the tiles with dirt and planted grass on top. Most of the clay tiles have collapsed and have become clogged and have caused flooding in streets in some areas of the city.
Sanders acknowledged that the Bobcat T870 would help the city resolve these ditch issues. Gorman then moved to approve the purchase, which was already included in the city’s 2017 equipment purchase budget.
Mayor Deitering asked if this purchase was one of the items the city was able to buy through the city’s road program.
“Yes. This was targeted through our capital improvement fund through the tax credit and the additional funds that came in,” said City Manager Rick Rose. “The intent was to purchase equipment for the road department as the funds became available. Those funds have come in enough to be able to do this.”
Council approved the purchase by a unanimous vote.