Archived Story

County gets 12 tractors for highway work

Published 11:00am Thursday, September 12, 2013

Otter Tail County highway maintenance supervisor Rick Hoium said the county has previously done all its mowing with eight tractors.

Now, thanks to a lease program, the county will have a few more tractors at its disposal.

The last of the county’s 12 new tractors arrived Sept. 6. Hoium said the program, created by the Western Area City County Cooperative in cooperation with Amundson Peterson, Inc., will prove especially beneficial in the coming weeks.

“We are looking at shortening up the timeframes it takes for us to complete our fall mowing process,” Hoium said.

Ryan Amundson from Amundson-Peterson said discussions to create the program began in earnest late last year. Hoium said the program is modeled after a long-standing one operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and John Deere.

The 12 tractors will be delivered to different parts of the county, which is broken into three areas for tractor use. Area one, made up of Fergus Falls, Dalton and Battle Lake, will get four of the tractors, while the other six will be divided between areas two and three.

Hoium said the tractors will be used primarily for mowing in the fall and spring and will not be used in heavy winter weather. He said the only winter projects the tractors will be used for are blowing snow and loading salt/sand.

This initial lease program makes the tractors available to the county for a minimum of eight months and up to either one year or 200 miles per tractor, whichever comes first. The county’s other eight tractors will be placed in storage in a municipal building in Battle Lake. But Hoium said they will not be sold right away.

“If this program doesn’t continue for some reason, then we will have these tractors to use,” Hoium said.

Hoium said each of the 12 tractors retails for in excess of $150,000. The 2013 county budget for tractors was $146,000, so the county is certainly getting a deal through this program.

Amundson said the program will be reevaluated next year based on a few factors, the most important of which is whether or not John Deere would be able to resell the tractors for enough money.

“If it comes that we can’t resell them, then the project can’t continue,” Amundson said.

For his part, Hoium said he would love to see the program extend beyond this year.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for the highway department,” Hoium said. “I am certainly hopeful the program continues.”

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