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Elk Mound buys Gator and snow plow for public works

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  Public works employees in Elk Mound will soon be using a new John Deere Gator.

The Elk Mound Village Board approved purchasing a John Deere Gator with a snow plow from Tractor Central in Menomonie for the department of public works at a cost of a little over $18,000 at the August 27 meeting.

The purchase will be made under the company’s “lease to own” program, and the payments of $494 per month will be spread out over the next 36 months.

The cost of the Gator is $17,794.44 with $996.44 in interest.

The Gator will save wear and tear on the village’s snow blower, said Terry Stamm, soon-to-be-retired director of public works.

Village personnel can use the Gator to push the snow back so they can use the snow blower and the broom, he said.

The public works department spent $2,290 replacing the snow blower gearbox after using the snow blower to move back the snow banks on U.S. Highway 12 last year, said Mark Levra, director of public works.

Rand Bates, director of public works in Colfax, said the Colfax employees use their utility vehicle every day and that it is indispensable, Stamm said, noting that he had also contacted other public works departments with utility vehicles and had been told they found them remarkably efficient as well.

The Gator will reduce the wear and tear on Elk Mound’s bigger trucks and will use less fuel, he said.

“I’m not sure we can afford not to have one,” Stamm said, adding that the Gator is not as high as the trucks and will make it easier to load and unload equipment.

The Gator can run for 45 minutes at top speed on one gallon of fuel, Levra said.

“But I don’t think we will run it much at top speed,” he said.

If the public works employees use the Gator instead of the big trucks, “it will pay for itself,” said Tom Gilbert, village trustee.

Levra said he often drives his own personal vehicle around during the day rather than the village’s larger trucks.

The Gator will save wear on the diesel engines in the larger trucks, he said.

The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved a motion to purchase the John Deere Gator from Tractor Central in Menomonie at a cost of $494.29 per month for 36 months.

In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board learned that a water meter had been replaced at the school district at a cost of $2,293.

The meter did not pass inspection and could not be repaired, Levra said.