Dodge County Supervisors set out to buy a new motor grader Wednesday and ended up buying two.
Supervisors accepted the $174,304 bid from Nebraska Machinery of Omaha for a 2011 Caterpillar 140M grader with the trade-in of a 2003 John Deere 770, and then bought a 2010 John Deere 770GP from Murphy Tractor and Equipment of Omaha for $195,816 with no trade in.
The 2010 John Deere will replace a 2005 John Deere the county will try to sell.
"We have at least one township in our county that's interested in it possibly," Supervisor Lon Strand said. "We're confident that we can maybe do ourselves a little better by selling it outright."
Strand said the Road and Bridge Committee proposed buying the second machine now while Tier 3 graders are still available in an effort to save the county money in the long run.
Anything manufactured after Jan. 1 has to meet Tier 4 environmental standards, including a large filter system that adds to the purchase price and maintenance, Doll explained.
County officials also are leery of buying a Tier 4 machine before all of the bugs in the new technology have been worked out.
"Both Cat and John Deere say that the maintenance cost is going to be a little bit higher," Strand said. "Neither one of them knows yet because it's just too unknown. I'm comfortable with both the John Deere and the Cat as far as that goes, I just want to stay with the Tier 3 and that will get us out of this Tier 4 loop for probably three or four years."
Because the original bid specifications called for purchase of only one grader and the supervisors earlier in the meeting accepted the Caterpillar bid, Strand intended to re-advertise for bids, possibly buying the 2010 John Deere at the supervisors' next meeting. But a Murphy representative said he already had another buyer lined up if the county didn't take the John Deere Wednesday, so supervisors decided to act while the machine was available.
"In reality, we either buy the John Deere today or we don't buy a second machine," Marsh said. "Always our bid specifications say that we have the ability to do whatever we think is in the best interests of Dodge County. There's no doubt in my mind that our best interest in Dodge County today is to buy the other Tier 3 machine that was bid from John Deere."
"When I was initially approached about whether we should rebid this," County Attorney Paul Vaughan said, "I wasn't aware of the fact that this John Deere opportunity was going to be gone after today. In light of that, I don't see that there would be any problem with accepting both of these bids if we want to do that because I think there is a valid argument to be made that it's in the best interests of the county."
Doll said the highway department budgeted $160,000 to replace a bulldozer this year.
"We would be willing to forego that and use that line item for the second motor grader," he said.
"Certainly we're going to capture a sizable sum on the resale (of the 2005)," Chairman Bob Missel added.
In other action, supervisors approved:
n Patty Manhart's resignation effective March 1 as director of the Dodge County Historical Society.
n The bid from Ace Irrigation of Kearney for 2011 culverts.
n Setting the annual One and Six Year Road Plan hearing for 10:15 a.m. Jan. 26.