Members of the Tarboro Town Council approved the purchase of three pieces of equipment for $750,539 Monday night, including two that will be financed for five years at 2.9 percent interest with BB&T.
The first purchase was for a street sweeper in the amount of $205,571 from Charlotte-based Carolina Industrial Equipment utilizing Powell Bill funds for all but $5,571, which was moved from the general fund as part of the purchase authorization.
Public Works Director Troy Lewis told council members the 11-year-old sweeper was set to be replaced in 2014 but, because of its condition, the decision was made to advance the purchase.
“It’s burning oil,” Lewis said, adding, “We add oil every day. We’re keeping it running, but that’s about it.”
The second and third pieces of equipment — a vacuum jet rodder for the water and sewer department at a cost of $328,574 and a 50-foot digger derrick for the electric department at a cost of $216,394 — would replace equipment in as poor condition, if not worse, than the street sweeper.
Council member Garland Shepheard asked what would be done with the old equipment and was told by Manager Alan Thornton that the town would “keep and use it.”
Pressed by Shepheard as to why purchase new equipment if the old was still usable, Lewis explained that the jet vac would be used in a different, less demanding capacity where its life could be extended. Utility Director Buddy Harrison noted the 20-year-old digger derrick was in much worse condition and that the town had problems getting replacement parts and had to be replaced.”
As Shepheard asked several questions about the impact of the payments on the budget, Finance Director Karla McCall provided answers until Shepheard inquired as to the amount of the payments. McCall explained that until the agreement was prepared, there would be no way of knowing the amount of the payments — but that the payments themselves would be the only financial impact on the budget.
BB&T submitted a proposal of 2.9 percent for five years on the principal that, according the bankrate.com, calculates to $9,769 per month — or a total payback of $586,140 on the borrowed $544,968, or a little more than $41,000 in interest.
The votes on all three motions — street sweeper, the BB&T agreement and the other pieces of equipment were all unanimous, although Shepheard did not vote on any of the three.
In other action:
• Council received a total of five awards as part of the 2013 Public Power Awards of Excellence. Tarboro was one of 21 Electricities members to have been recognized at the annual conference. Tarboro was recognized for outstanding efforts in key areas such as creating a competitive business environment, legislative involvement on public power issues, financial stability, customer service programs and community energy efficiency promotion.
• Council approved the creation of a Main Street Façade Committee and named Jeroen Vanden Hurk, Sylvia Nash and Maggie Gregg as its first members. It was also disclosed that despite interest in the program, there have been no applicants to-date.
• In another appointment, council re-appointed Morris Armstrong to a five-year term on the redevelopment commission.
• Council also named Candis Owens, Raj Patel, Sarah Peveler and Buddy Hooks as initial members of the Edgecombe County Tourism Development Authority.
At 8:08 p.m., council adjourned to go into executive session but took no action.