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County headed to the auction
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Effingham County may turn to auctions to augment its fleet of heavy equipment.

Commissioners have approved allowing county staff to purchase heavy equipment through auctions.

“We may able to get more equipment for what we budgeted,” County Administrator David Crawley said. “Normally, we come in with a price and ready to buy. Essentially, you’re giving us the authorization up front to spend the money.”

The county set aside $468,000 for heavy equipment purchases, and the county estimates it can save from 30 percent to 50 percent on retail costs.

To buy the needed equipment new, including a new motor grader, costs approximately $660,000, according to Michelle Newland of the county finance department.

“With the economic downturn, a lot of construction companies have gone out of business and have been forced to let their equipment be repossessed or go to auction,” she said. “A lot of this equipment is brand new.”

The problematic motor grader is also nearing the end of its service life, Newland said.

“It is something that does need to be replaced,” she said.

The county will be attempting to buy a bush cutter, a grad-all and two commercial mowing tractors. Plus, a motor grader that has been in and out of the shop needs $12,000 in repairs.

Almost all of the money set aside for heavy equipment purchases will come from special local option sales tax proceeds. The county also will be getting help from Greg Burns and Ezell Pitts in determining if the equipment at auction is worth buying “and a not a piece of junk,” Newland said.

“We have several commissioners with heavy equipment experience,” Crawley said. “Don’t be surprised if we ask one of y’all to come along to the auction with a check.”