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County considers dump trailer purchase

November 29, 2018

MADISON — While most attention relating to roads this time of year is focused on snow removal, the Madison County board of commissioners spent time Tuesday thinking about ways to enhance road repairs.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, the commissioners voted to postpone consideration of the purchase of a side-dump trailer in an effort to find out if the purchase would require the county to pay federal excise tax.

The dump trailer, which is often used during road construction and overlay work, has been researched by Jim Prauner, chairman of the county board, and his crew.

Prauner, whose term expires in January, said it doesn’t matter so much to him, but he believes it would be in the best interest of the county to purchase the trailer.

Prauner, who represents District 3, said he has borrowed a dump trailer from other districts. Prauner said he has an offer for a new, triple-axle trailer from the manufacturing company in Columbus that would cost $49,500.

That’s considerably less than prices on others from dealers of $62,900 from Colorado and $60,200 from Iowa.

The trailer that Prauner’s district currently uses was rolled and heavily damaged before it was purchased used. It can be dangerous to operate because it pulls up the tractor sometimes when it is dumping, he said.

Commissioner Ron Schmidt said he questions whether the county would have to pay federal excise tax on a new dump trailer or if that is a cash price. If there is no excise tax, that’s a great buy, he said.

Along with finding out whether there is the tax, Schmidt said he would like more research to see if there are funds in the budget and if the road districts can borrow trailers from each other.

The county recently spent about $455,000 for two new maintainers, which was about $5,000 over what was budgeted, Schmidt said.

“When it comes to graders, we use them all the time,” Schmidt said. “Those aren’t sharable, but when it comes to these trailers, it would really be nice if we could share them so we didn’t need so many.”

Commissioners said another issue with districts borrowing the trailers is that each is wired differently and has different hydraulics, so sometimes the tractors in each district don’t match the trailers.

Since the price quote is under $50,00, the county isn’t required to advertise bids, although commissioners did some research from possible dealers to obtain prices.

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