VILONIA — An investment in a costly piece of equipment will allow the City of Vilonia to better utilize employees and perform some needed sewer and culvert work, according to Mayor James Firestone.

A special city council meeting was held Monday night when aldermen approved purchasing of a Kubota Excavator KX161for $47,000 from Twin City Tractor and Equipment.

"It’s big enough to do all the jobs we have here," Firestone told the council referring to sewer line and culvert work. "We have talked about the need for some time."

Describing the excavator, Firestone said it is a quality machine with about 250 hours of use time, and equipped with a hydraulic thumb and trenching bucket. It is also equipped, he said, with a rubber track allowing it to be operated on the street.

"There’s no end to the drainage projects we can do with it," he said.

Commenting on the financial aspect, Firestone said the city has an option to finance. However, he said, he was in favor of paying cash.

The balance as of last week was $151,000 plus a $22,000 CD in the street department budget, he said. And, last month, he said the account grew about $14,000 to $15,000 including sales tax and turnback money.

It appeared none of those present were in favor of financing. Alderman Skip Cates said "he hates to make a debt" and made the motion to make the purchase paying cash. 

"We will have it paid for and we can put it to work," he added.

The four aldermen including Cates, Kathy French, Joe Maxwell and Sherry Clements unanimously supported the issue.

One of the greatest advantages to such a piece of equipment, Firestone said, is that it will allow one street department person to work on several projects alone. Touting the praises of the Matt Rust of the street department, Firestone said he is an excellent operator and has the abilities to maintain the machine.

The city had been using the excavator for a few days on a rental contract, Firestone added. The purchase, he said, will result in no rental charges.