The money for the purchases will be transferred out of a series of reserve funds already approved and set aside in the 2013-14 annual budget. One item, however, was added later this year: compact wheel loader.
Roughly 50 residents attended the meeting at Coginchaug High School and, when the chairman requested a vote on each item, only one or two people opposed the purchases.
Here's a rundown of what was approved Monday:
- The transfer of up to $107,000 from the Highway Equipment Reserve for the purchase of a 2013 loader.
- The transfer of up to $80,000 from the Highway Equipment Reserve toward the purchase of a 2013 compact wheeler loader.
- The transfer of up to $40,000 from the Highway Equipment Reserve toward the purchase of a 2013 1-ton pick-up truck.
- The transfer of up to $43,243 from the Radio & Pagers Reserve for the purchase of 20 pagers and 20 portable radios.
- The transfer of $5,361 from the Fire Trustees Building Maintenance Reserve and $7,902 from Undesignated Fund Balance toward the installation of air conditioning units in the Town Hall's large meeting room.
Public Works Director Kurt Bober said that the new loader approved Monday — the most expensive item on the list — is replacing an older one the town bought in 2005 for $164,000.
Bober said his department is actually going to trade in that 8-year-old loader for $53,000 and utilize that money, as well as the $107,000 approved Monday, toward the purchase of the 2013 model.
"It’s a 2005 loader that has 6,500 hours on it so it’s time to replace it while it still has enough value for a good trade-in," Bober told the Durham residents.
The second-largest expenditure, the $80,000 toward a compact wheeler loader, is a "Bobcat-type" apparatus the town had typically contracted and rented out in past years from outside companies.
Bober said the town chose this because it utilizes the same attachments as the 2013 loader, the one costing $107,000.
First Selectman Laura Francis approved of the purchase, noting that the town has needed these types of machines in recent years due to the bad weather.
"One of the things we’ve learned is it’s getting more and more difficult to contract out for these types of equipments because of the lack of availability," Francis said. "Because quite often these storms, we just don’t have the equipment on hand."
The radios the town is purchasing are replacing 2009 models and the pagers will replace 2011 models, officials said. The old equipment will be repurposed and used for parts, the town said.
Click here to read the press release about the annual meeting.
Editor's Note: We amended this story to reflect the fact that one of the items on the list was not approved during the budget, but rather was added in this past summer.