The new machine should make street and park operations much more efficient, Perkins Township highway superintendent Eric Dodrill said.
In January, budget constraints forced trustees to slash half of Dodrill’s staff, reducing from six full-time employees to three today.
Since then, he began searching for ways to maximize productivity in his department. The new leaf machine seemingly satisfies this need.
Among the selling points: The vehicle only requires one person to operate, allowing the department’s two other workers to get busy on other pressing projects. The old vehicle required two people to operate.
Township officials now have one vehicle solely dedicated to leaf pickup. In years past, the leaf vehicle doubled as the township’s snow removal truck.
Dodrill further explained the machine’s significance.
Q: Why do you need a new leaf machine?
ED: We have been looking at alternative methods of collecting leaves for the past three years as our equipment is aging and replacement is becoming eminent. We have the need to move in a direction that reduces the cost of leaf collection, reduces potential injuries to workers and maintains the level of service for our residents.
Q: How much does the machine cost? What are the financial particulars?
ED: Our final purchase price is $139,500. We are spreading this cost over a five-year period by financing through a five-year lease purchase agreement requiring 10 equal payments of $14,900, paid each six months during the term. The final equipment purchase price, with interest, will be $149,000. A new unit price is $160,400, and we will (own) the 1-year-old unit at the end of the lease period.
Q: What can this machine do that your older one couldn’t?
ED: The current machinery we use is a trailer unit that requires a truck with a leaf box to utilize. This is the same truck that we use to salt roadways and plow snow. The new unit is selfcontained, meaning it has the leaf collector and leaf hopper mounted on the truck itself, and the operator of the vehicle also controls the operations of the leaf collector. This self-contained model reduces the amount of manpower needed to operate.
Q: Why is a new machine necessary?
ED: Reduced staffing and the need to do more with less overall has helped in making the final decision. This purchase also allows us to keep our crew working on other critical drainage and street repair projects through the fall.