NAUGATUCK — The Joint Boards of Mayor and Burgesses and Finance voted unanimously Thursday to approve the purchase of a new payloader.
The borough’s only payloader broke town at the end of last year when the engine threw a rod through the engine block, according to Public Works Director James Stewart.
“We absolutely need a loader because it’s used for basically all construction activities,” Stewart said.
He said the payloader has a variety of other uses including snow clearing, snow moving, loading trucks with sand and salt, mixing the sand and salt, loading the truck with brush, woodchips, and leaves, and disposing of those materials.
A new motor for the 19-year old John Deere payloader would have cost $15,000, but additional work may be required in the near future for other parts that are on their last legs, Stewart said, including $35,000 for the transmission, $6,500 breaks, and potentially, a hydraulic pump. He said the dealer told him that the new motor, with its extra power, might cause the transmission to break.
“In my opinion, fixing it wasn’t the right thing to do for your only loader,” Stewart said.
The new payloader, which is a newer model of the same size John Deere, will cost $160,000 spread out over a five year lease-purchase agreement.
That cost will be offset, in part, by $15,000 the borough will get when it trades in the old payloader.
Stewart said the Public Works Department has put off a lot of tasks it normally does with the payloader, including storing leaves and woodchips at the transfer station rather than disposing of them.
For some projects, public works employees have used a backhoe instead, but tasks take a lot longer than they would with the larger payloader, Stewart said.
Borough Controller Wayne McAllister is looking into setting up a lease that would pay for the new payloader out of next year’s budget, Stewart said.