ISD replaces snow tractor

HANCOCK – The Copper Country Intermediate School District accepted a bid from low bidder Ward’s Husqvarna Outdoor Equipment for a new 2016 Kioti tractor. After trade-in and dealer discounts, the final cost will be $25,658.23. The CCISD received two bids, one from Ward’s in Dollar Bay, and the other from LeBlanc Sales and Service in Lake Linden.

The discussion during the recent CCISD board meeting focused on the recurring expenses of repairs to the current tractor, which is a 2005 John Deere.

“You can see in the last eight years, roughly, we have spent $13,000 in repairs,” George Stockero, CCISD superintendent said, “and in just the past two years, we have spent over $4,000 in repairs.”

Nels Christopherson, board vice-president, asked what the tractor was specifically used for, and wondered if it would be cheaper to contract work out.

“It mows all the lawns,” Stockero said. “It has a bucket, so we go around and work on trees, or move gravel, or whatever we need it to do. It’s our snow plow in the winter time. It gets used a lot.”

Jason Auel, CCISD business manager, offered further explanation.

“In the winter time, the snowblower is what’s used on it,” he explained. “We use the plow to move most of the snow, but then to have to blow the banks back and keep things pushed back, but there have been times when, with really heavy snow, they will plow (snow) into a pile, then blow it further away so you’re not having to plow it as far, then you lose a lot of space.”

Board members then discussed the advantages of owning a tractor over contracting for snow removal.

“It would be ours,” Christopherson said, “and we would be in charge of it.”

Auel added with the CCISD owning their own tractor, it could be used as needed, particularly on days of heavy snow, when the current tractor is used more than once.

“This way, we’d have it right there. If you had to call someone in, when would they be able to come?” he said.

Stockero considered cost comparisons when deciding to recommend trading in the current tractor for a new one.

“What I was surprised at is that they’re giving us a good trade-in value for the tractor,”. Stockero said. “Whereas we could get one for as low as $25,600, then I look at spending $13,000 over the last six years or so, I think it’s in our best interest to get a new tractor.”

Stockero said he had no preference of one over the other, stating that he would go with the lowest bid.

“If you felt you didn’t want us to do it, we’ll be fine,” he told the board, But added, “Then I start seeing all those bills, I want to get the maximum for our money.”

Robert Loukus, board member, suggested in light of not knowing whether the new tractor is diesel or gas-powered, the approval should be contingent on that answer, as repairs to diesel-powered equipment are more expensive than those made to gas-powered machinery.