Grosse Pointe ParkJuly 11, 2012
Park purchases equipment for road repairs
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE PARK — Officials are hoping an equipment purchase will enable them to trim costs while better maintain the city’s roads by using existing staff to do certain repairs.
During a June 25 City Council meeting, City Manager Dale Krajniak asked the council to approve the purchase of an asphalt patch machine.
The city has typically contracted out major projects while undertaking smaller street repairs internally, Krajniak said. Because of the cost of contracting out work and the city’s desire to maintain its roads, he said, they were hoping to expand the Public Service Department’s internal street repair program.
The city, unlike private contractors, isn’t looking to make a profit, nor will the city have to pay income taxes on the work, Krajniak said. That’s why he said this purchase “will reduce costs.”
“Plus, having a very capable staff allows us to do this work in a less costly manner,” he continued.
City Council member Daniel Clark was concerned that this amounted to “a stop-gap measure” with regard to long-term capital improvements for roads. He said he feared that they’d be facing greater costs in the future.
“We can’t kick that can down the road indefinitely. … If we continue in these stop-gap measures, at one point we’re going to have to say we have significant road repair expenses,” Clark said.
Although City Council member Robert Denner agreed that they were all concerned about long-term street repairs, he said they’re already doing stop-gap work, but with limited equipment. With the asphalt patch machine, he said, they’d be able to take a more professional approach and get a “better result.”
“Driving around the city, there are definitely some spaces in need,” said Denner, saying he’s seen areas that are too large to be fixed with cold-patch, but too small to be contracted out. “This may be a very prudent way to allocate our manpower and our capital.”
Krajniak recommended the bid from Bell Equipment. At $30,016, it was the second highest among the four bidders, but he said this bid “reflects the acquisition of equipment most suitable for our needs.” The council concurred.
“We want to give our employees the best equipment to work with, even if it’s a little more (expensive),” Mayor Palmer Heenan said.
Krajniak said the Park is only expected to have about $50,000 this year and next year in its major and local street funds. He said they don’t have reserves available that can be used on road repairs. The cost to asphalt a street is about $50,000-$60,000 per block, Krajniak said.
City Council member Gregory Theokas said that with this purchase, at least they could perform more repairs internally and save their limited road funds for the streets that are in even worse shape.
“I think it’s a good plan,” he told the council.
City Clerk/Finance Director Jane Blahut said the equipment would likely be purchased this month, and Park personnel should be able to use it as soon as this summer.
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