During the May 12 regular session of the Mason County Commissioners' Court, the decision was made to purchase a tractor and reclaimer for the Road & Bridge Department.
The Court has been discussing the possible purchase of the equipment since early April. At the end of April, a demonstration was performed on Shep Creek Road using the reclaimer so that the members of the Court, and Road Department Supervisor Squeaky Farmer, could watch the process and make a more informed decision.
The process involves the graders pulling material from the roadsides and ditches that is normally too large to be useful on the roadbed. The graders then work the material into a line of material running down the center of the road. A tractor, pulling the reclaimer, runs over the top of the material, breaking up the rock into smaller, more usable material that is deposited back onto the road surface. Graders following the reclaimer then work the material back into the road.
The Court wanted to examine the feasibility of a reclaimer as a way of reducing the amount of road material that needed to be purchased since that has been a large part of the budget of the Road Department for the last six months. The reclaimer would, theoretically, allow the County Road Department to make better use of existing material and existing supplies of material rather than having to continue purchasing more material from third parties.
The cost of the tractor and reclaimer is approximately $127,976. During discussion on the matter, members of the Court, and Mr. Farmer, indicated that they would prefer to make the purchase during the next budget year. However, after further discussion, it was agreed that the County could very easily spend over $100,000 on road material in the remaining budget year and that the reclaimer could possibly cut that figure down to a more reasonable amount.
The final vote was unanimous to move ahead with the purchase and to begin use of the equipment as soon as possible.