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Colfax approves buying new JD mower for $15,000

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  When the grass needs mowing this summer, Colfax will be ready.

Based on the recommendation of the parks committee, the Colfax Village Board approved buying a new John Deere commercial mower for $15,000 after trade-in at the April 27 meeting.

The parks committee met prior to the village board meeting, and Rand Bates, director of public works, presented his recommendation to the committee to purchase the John Deere 1570 from Tractor Central out of Menomonie.

The John Deere has a 72-inch mower deck and is a four-wheel-drive diesel, Bates said.

The village currently mows with a zero-turn Kubota mower that was purchased new in 2009.

In the last two years, the village has spent nearly $4,000 to fix the zero-turn mower, and Bates said he did not believe it was cost-effective to continue fixing the old mower.

According to the quote from Tractor Central, the company is prepared to give the village $9,400 on a trade in for the zero-turn mower.

The village used to keep the mowers on a three or four year rotation, Bates noted.

One previous village board member did not want the mower to be on a rotation, so that is why the village is still mowing with the zero-turn mower, he said.

Four-wheel-drive is an essential part of the new mower because of various steep spots around the village, including the bank by Eighteen Mile Creek, Bates said, noting that the zero-turn mower has gotten stuck several times and has had to be pulled out.

“We get in trouble by the creek or when it’s dewey,” he said.

Bates said he would not allow either of the part-time employees to jump on the zero-turn mower and start cutting grass.

Even though they know how to drive village equipment, the zero-turn mowers operate far differently, Bates said.

Tony Braaten has been doing all of the mowing for the village, but Braaten is not going to want to do the work forever, he noted.

Scott Gunnufson, village president, wondered if the price quoted by Tractor Central could be negotiable.

The total price quoted was $24,560. With the trade-in of $9,400, the total cost would be $15,160.

Bates also received a quote from Value Implement for a new Kubota four-wheel-drive mower at a total cost of $24,225 and a trade-in of $7,000 for the 2009 Kubota for a total cost of $17,225.

Bates said a Tractor Central sales representative stops in three times during the summer to make sure everything is going well with the equipment.

Bates said no one from Value Implement has ever stopped in to talk to him.

“Customer service is huge,” said Mark Halpin, village trustee.

Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, checked the village’s records and reported that the mower fund had $15,711 as of April 27.

Blower and sweeper attachments are available for the John Deere, too, Bates said.

The blower and sweeper attachments would work well for clearing the sidewalks, he noted.

Gunnufson said he had asked several business owners along Main Street if they would be willing to pay a certain amount each year to have the village clear snow from the sidewalks in front of their businesses, and they said they would appreciate the village offering that kind of service, Gunnufson said.

If the village decides to purchase blower and sweeper attachments, the money could come from the street budget, he said.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved buying the John Deere four-wheel-drive diesel engine mower at a cost not to exceed $15,160.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Accepted the donation of two disease-resistant American Elm trees from Jim Eggert that will be planted by Colfax High School students at the direction of Mark Mosey, high school biology teacher.

• Approved a change order in the amount of $797.16 for the Fourth Avenue project to televise the sewer lines.

• Approved a pay request for Fourth Avenue in the amount of $36,955.50.

• Approved paying the village board’s library liaison for attending the library board meetings at the rate of pay received for village board meetings, which is currently set at $20 per meeting. Halpin currently serves as the village board’s library liaison.

• Approved compensating village board members at the current rate of pay for all meetings attended as a voting member.

• Scheduled the Board of Review for May 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

• Agreed that Niggemann and Village Trustee Annie Schieber should attend a meeting of the Dunn County Board’s Community Relations and Tourism Committee at 7:30 a.m. May 11 in Room 58 of the Government Center on Wilson Avenue to represent  Colfax. Meeting participants will discuss, for example, what role the county should take, if any, in promoting specific events, attractions, opportunities and tourism in general. Any members of the public with ideas for promoting Colfax and tourism in Colfax can contact Niggemann at (715) 962-3311.

• Approved a contract with Dixon Engineering in the amount of $950 for inspection of the installation of the T-Mobile antennas on the Colfax water tower.

• Approved a recommendation from the parks committee to have the letters on the Evergreen Cemetery sign painted and the word “Colfax” added to the sign, either in an arch pattern above or below Evergreen Cemetery at the discretion of Bates. The work will be completed by an individual in the community who needs to complete community service. At a previous parks committee meeting, it was noted that there are several Evergreen Cemeteries in Dunn County and that on the plat maps, Evergreen Cemetery is identified as Colfax Cemetery.