Farmington board awards front-end loader contract

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FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen unanimously awarded a $144,967 contract for a 2015 FXR Case loader to Beauregard Equipment of Hermon on Tuesday.

Thirteen bids were received, ranging from $122,000 to $164,000, Town Manager Richard Davis told the board. The low bids did not meet requested specifications and the higher bids were for a larger machine than needed.

After trying the machine out and reviewing the bid specs and the factory warranty of three years, 3,000 hours of use, the town workers were pleased with it, he said.

The crew tried three types of loaders and felt this was the best one for the money, said Denis Castonguay, Public Works director. It was one of the lower bids, he added.

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Features on the loader are as good for a mechanic as for the operator, said Jonathan Alexander, shop manager and chief mechanic.

Alexander and three crew members tried a Case loader at the Maine Department of Transportation garage in Dixfield. MDOT has had it for about a year with no mechanical issues, he said.

The machine provides digital trouble reporting from the dealer to the town garage via email. It can tell what the issue is and where to start looking, Alexander said.

The only concern is that it could take 120 days for it to arrive.

Bruce Webber, sales associate for Beauregard, said that was the worst-case scenario. He estimated arrival of the machine by mid-January.

Meanwhile, Public Works is spending $4,800 a month to lease a loader. The amount has been reduced to $3,800, Castonguay said.

During a special town meeting earlier this month, voters approved spending $40,000 for a first payment on a front-end loader to replace the 1989 Caterpillar loader, which has a broken transmission. The Caterpillar had 19,276 hours of running time, the equivalent of 700,000 miles. Replacing the transmission at an estimated cost of over $19,000 “cannot be justified,” according to the warrant.

Because the Public Works Department frequently uses a front-end loader, especially in the winter, the Board of Selectmen recommended replacing it through a five-year, lease-purchase agreement.

Voters approved using $40,000 from the unassigned fund balance, which totalled $1,810,458 at the end of 2013.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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