Town to explore skid steer loader purchase over forklift
HOULTON, Maine –The town’s public works director got a better deal than he was hoping for when he approached the Town Council about purchasing equipment on May 13.
Chris Stewart, public works director at the Houlton Municipal Garage, appeared before the council to request approval for waiving the bid process in order to purchase a
2007 Daewoo G25-3 forklift for $10,500 from Kearney Pallet Inc. of Mars Hill.
The money to purchase it would have come from multiple sources, with $6,627 coming from the public works equipment account and $1,872 from the capital reserve account. The remaining $2,000 would have come from 2019 budget accounts.
Stewart has said the forklift would be used to move heavy equipment around, including bringing wing blades and plow blades inside the garage and to help out the mechanics, as there is no chain lift system inside the mechanic’s bay.
The Millar Civic Center also does not have a forklift and needs to rent one when it is required.
Councilor Bill McCluskey said that he needed a forklift a few years ago. He said that they were “horrible” on unstable ground and in ice and snow and wondered about spending more money to get something more versatile, such as a skid steer loader with attachments. They could include forks and a bucket for lifting, he said.
Stewart said that he was trying to stay within the budget that he had, and looked around for approximately six months to find the forklift.
Councilor Chris Robinson asked how often the forklift would be needed, and Stewart said the garage used it daily. They have a trailer available to transport it to different municipal facilities. He said that if he had a choice, he would prefer the skid steer because of the different attachments that could be affixed to it.
He estimated that a decent skid steer would cost between $20,000 and $40,000.
Town Manager Marian Anderson said that to purchase the skid steer, the town would need to dip into the municipality’s $1.4 million surplus account. The council ultimately decided to table the matter so that Stewart could research possible skid steers and then come back to the council with the new information.