Morgan City finance panel OKs equipment purchases

By JAMES A. ROBICHAUX

jrobichaux@daily-review.com

MORGAN CITY — The purchase of a new all-steer loader with a road planer and a dump trailer for both the Sanitation and Public Works Departments was approved by the Morgan City finance committee on Thursday at City Hall.

Public Works director Michael Loupe spoke of the need for the loader.

“We are having trouble with our trash with our sanitation trucks being very old and breaking down,” he said, adding that a person operating a steer loader with a grapple did not need a commercial driver’s license.

The committee also approved $10,000 from the sanitation department to buy a dump trailer for trash, such as yard debris.

Loupe, however, spoke of another use of the steer loader.

“We do not have any equipment to maintain asphalt,” he said. “We have asphalt roads in Morgan City. The only solution that we have for potholes is to put cold patch,” he said of the product used to repair potholes.

“Cold patch doesn’t last long. We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars this year just on cold patch,” Loupe said.

For the purpose of solving this problem, he requested a road planer attachment to the Bobcat loader.

“All of the major asphalt companies have this,” Loupe said.

“So, for us to maintain our asphalt roads a little bit better, we would like to get a planer to attach to this all-wheel steer loader,” Loupe said, adding that he wanted to get equipment that the city could use in more than one way by more than one department.

City treasurer Deborah Garber noted that money for the purchase is in the budget.

“We budgeted $60,000 for a backhoe that we did not purchase. This [the all steer loader], we would utilize much more,” she said.

In other business, the committee voted to approve $37,000 to buy various furnishings and appliances for the three houses at Lake End Park.

Dwayne Barbier, director of Recreation and Culture, said the purchase would include refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, televisions, stoves, sofas, tables, beds and mattresses, chairs, barbecue pits, coffee pots, sinks, fire extinguishers, fans, lighting fixtures and chests of drawers.

In other business, District 2 Councilman Larry Bergeron spoke about a request from Bill Cefalu, city utilities director, to buy an engineering study to bring a SCADA — supervisory control and data acquisition — system for the city’s electrical lines, which would mitigate future problems with electrical outages.

Bergeron explained the benefits of such a system.

“When you have an outage, our people have to come from their homes, go to the shop, get in the truck, and ride the route to find an outage and whatever caused it. With a SCADA system, they’ll be able to go to a computer screen, and it’s not going to pinpoint it, but it’ll give you the circuit that it’s on,” he said.

Bergeron also said that such a system would help identify areas needing upgrades.

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