BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (January 10) — During a meeting of the Dresden City Board, on Monday, January 10, aldermen voted unanimously to authorize the mayor and city recorder to negotiate a price for a grapple truck, and report the amount to the board for final approval at their next meeting.
Public Works Director Josh Lassiter stated he has looked into the possibility of purchasing a grapple truck for the city of Dresden. Lassiter stated the total price for a grapple truck amounts to approximately $176,902.50, which is about the same price recently paid the city of McKenzie for a similar truck.
Mayor Jeff Washburn noted, to assist with Dresden’s cleanup efforts in the aftermath of the tornado, grapple trucks have been provided by the cities of Martin, McKenzie and Camden, and the City of Milan has offered to provide a grapple truck when needed. However, he argued this type of equipment would be extremely valuable for the City of Dresden to own and utilize in the coming weeks and months ahead, as well as in the future.
The mayor said, “There’s not a better piece of equipment for picking up brush and things. It’s not something we would just use in the next five or six months. It’s something that would be useful for a long time to come in routine daily operations.”
According to Lassiter, “Grapple trucks can pick up pretty much anything. They can pick up mattresses and other heavy objects, so instead of having three guys loading a mattress in the back of a trailer, the grapple truck can do the same job more quickly and efficiently, with only one man operating it.” He explained it has a dump bed that can offload itself, or the grapple-arm can pick up debris out of the truck bed and place it in a dumpster.
Lassiter noted the company that gave him the information about the grapple truck it’s the same company the City of Dresden purchased its street sweeper from. Lassiter said he checked with other companies, but Stringfellow, Inc. is the only company that can provide a truck quickly. He stated a truck will be ready for purchase and delivery during the first or second week in February, while the other companies have a long wait time of approximately 18 to 24 months.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated the city could purchase a truck from Stringfellow without taking bids, because the truck has already been bid out by the state and is under a state contract.
Mayor Washburn said the funds needed to procure the truck could be obtained by borrowing money from the city’s Solid Waste Fund or the Water and Sewer Fund, and repay the money over time. He also mentioned there may be a possibility of obtaining FEMA funds to assist with the purchase a grapple truck to help with the cleanup.
When the question was called on a motion to move forward with purchasing the grapple truck, aldermen voted 5-0 in favor of the purchase, with Alderman Lyndal Dilday being absent.