Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer

After last week indicating that they were on board to buy two excavators that were more expensive than most other bids submitted, county commissioners tabled the matter due to budget concerns Tuesday.

“I think money is going to be a little tight next year for the highway department,” Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said Tuesday.

Therefore, the commissioners tabled buying two excavators and two flatbed trailers, which came to a total cost of $246,026.

Griesheimer said the county may be able to get by with just one excavator rather than two. But he said he wants to talk further with the highway department supervisors and workers who operate the equipment.

He added that the commissioners just want to make sure the money is in the budget and that the equipment will be used.

Griesheimer noted that the county is going into more of a road maintenance program as opposed to a road building program. This means the county may not have such a demand for excavators, he added.

Last week, County Commissioners Mike Schatz, Tim Brinker and Griesheimer met with highway department officials about buying two excavators.

That discussion centered on which brand of excavators to buy, and there seemed to be agreement between the commissioners and the highway department officials that the Caterpillar model was the best choice even though it was the third costliest of the nine bids submitted.

Other than tabling the vote to buy the two Caterpillar excavators from John Fabick Tractor of Fenton, the commissioners also tabled a vote to purchase two flatbed trailers from Roland Machinery Company of Bridgeton.

The bid for the pair of excavators totaled $216,514, and the cost of the flatbed trailers was $29,512.

Schatz said he wanted more time to look into the purchase since it is a significant cost coming to about $250,000.

“It’s getting (to be) budget time, and we’re getting close to the end of the year,” Schatz said. “Before we go out and spend almost a quarter of a million dollars, I’d just like to do some checking with the highway department.”

Holding off on the bids one week should not create any problems, Griesheimer said, adding that the matter would be before the commissioners again next week.