Franklin County Commission

Even though two county commissioners last week were worried about spending almost $250,000 on highway department equipment, they went ahead and approved the purchase Tuesday.

Last week, the county commission tabled spending a total of $246,026 on two excavators and two trailers to haul the equipment.

Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz said last week that he wanted to further discuss the purchase with the highway department before committing so much money.

Likewise, Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said last week that he wanted to make sure the equipment was truly needed before the county agreed to spend the money. At the time, Griesheimer said he was worried that the budget for the highway department would be tight next year.

But despite their concerns, Schatz and Griesheimer said Tuesday that they felt comfortable buying the equipment after further discussion with the highway department.

Griesheimer said he was assured that the equipment would be used often.

Another issue with buying the excavators was that the commissioners decided to approve a bid that was higher than most others submitted.

After meeting with highway officials, the commissioners agreed that the Caterpillar model of excavators would be the best for the county.

“I think it’s prudent for the taxpayers,” Griesheimer said.

The Caterpillar bid was the third costliest of the nine bids submitted.

But commissioners and highway officials praised the Caterpillar brand and said it was worth spending a little more money on. Griesheimer said Caterpillar is good when it comes to maintenance issues and resale value.

The cost of the two excavators came to $216,514, and that bid was from John Fabick Tractor of Fenton.

The trailers came to a total cost of $29,512, and that bid was from Roland Machinery Company of Bridgeton.

Schatz said he questioned highway department officials over whether they needed two excavators, and they convinced him the machinery is needed to meet maintenance needs.

Schatz said he hopes to hear positive feedback from county residents when it comes to road maintenance.