By Brett Yates
Aiming to reduce the town’s reliance on contractors, the Chittenden Select Board authorized the purchase of an excavator for use by the municipal road crew on Jan. 10. The town expects to spend $75,850 on the Volvo ECR50F, plus $10,900 on a trailer, manufactured by Kaufman Trailers, to transport it.
Road Commissioner Gary Congdon expects to deploy the excavator for cleaning ditches, replacing culverts, and digging the water line for a new well at the town office, an anticipated project.
“It’s a handy tool to have,” Congdon observed. “It won’t mess up the asphalt because it’s got rubber tracks on it. If you have to get off the road, being on rubber tracks, excavators, they’ll go most anywhere.”
Select Board member Bob Baird, who, with his family, operates Baird Farm, testified to the machine’s utility. “I have one myself,” he related. “It’s maybe twice paid for itself.”
To pay for it, the town will draw from its equipment reserve fund, where Selectman Andrew Quint noted a current balance of about $281,000.
The board decided to rush the purchase after Congdon found that a distributor in Williston had only one ECR50F left in stock. With steel prices rising, he foresees a significantly higher price for next year’s model.
Congdon predicted that the town would get about 20 years of service out of the machine.