By Steve Peterson
Plymouth County Secondary Road Engineer Tom Rohe gave supervisors options on the purchase of a Motor Grader at their Feb. 25 meeting.
“We are considering a 140 M-2 motor grader and a 12 M-2 motor grader,” said Rohe, explaining the cost, after a trade-in, of the 140 M-2 was $191,920; for the 12 M-2, it would be $172,700. There is a five-year warranty.
Rohe recommended the 12 M-2 model be purchased from Ziegler Caterpillar, Inc.’s Sioux City office.
Supervisors approved the recommended purchase by a 4-0 vote. Chairman Jim Henrich abstained.
The trade-in value was $80,500 for a 1998 Caterpillar 140 H motor grader.
“Everything is the same on the machines except that the 12 M-2 is 9,000 horsepower less,” said Rohe.
“We purchased our first motor grader in 2008 and it had about the same horsepower as this one (that was recommended). They changed the engines and went to a nine-liter engine. After about three or four years all but one model had a nine-liter engine. On the original 140 M-2, the pounds of torque that you have is 800, but with the 12 M-2, it has the same torque. The only time you would see a difference is when we’re plowing snow with the deep chains and take them down the road,” said Rohe. “To me these machines are the same equipment that we have used for the last five years.”
Rohe presented information about how other counties are handling their motor grader purchases and the history behind the county’s purchases of the machines since 2003. Costs have been $152,582 in 2003 to $188,010 in 2013 after trade-ins.
Rohe explained there are 14 snow removal routes in the county and the motor graders are on the routes for 14 years; they have been purchasing them every one or two years recently. The motor graders are used 16,000 to 17,000 hours per year then put into a “spare” status for a couple of years for 500 to 800 hours per year.
The oldest motor grader the county owns was purchased in 1996, which is in better shape than the 1998 which is being traded in. The new motor grader will be used on the Hinton area route.
Supervisor Craig Anderson asked if it could be looked into buying the motor graders less frequently. Rohe said he would look into that.
“There used to be an added discount for multiple machines but Caterpillar has since discontinued it,” said Rohe. “A five-year warranty is good because any trouble you will likely have will be in the first two years but if you go more than five years, it is very expensive.”
A back-up camera is included as a safety measure, said Rohe in response to a question from Anderson.
“We don’t want to wait until August or September,” said Rohe of the time frame of receiving the motor grader.
In other county business:
• By a 5-0 vote, approved the appointment of Brad Cave of Le Mars as a District No. 1 representative on Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Board for a one-year term.