GOING NOWHERE: Banana Shire Council backhoe sitting idle in the middle of the sports complex.
GOING NOWHERE: Banana Shire Council backhoe sitting idle in the middle of the sports complex. Submitted

Old plant stays in budget

BANANA Shire Council’s fleet services have tightened the purse strings for the past three years and for the first time, plant operations have come in under budget.

But the machinery is feeling the strain.

Fleet and Waste Services manager Greg Curtis’s report to council on Tuesday showed plant operation recoveries had finished at 94 per cent of annual budget allocation, while expenditure had finished at 58 per cent.

“In our last three years’ budget, we haven’t done our full replacement,” he said.

Mr Curtis said while they usually replaced certain machines every seven years, they had not done so with trucks and utes.

“We’ve got to a stage where our program will go out the door unless we bring it fully back in,” he said.

Cr Warren Middleton, Development Services and Engineering Services portfolio spokesman, said the council had discussed buying second-hand equipment at repossession auctions rather than buying new.

Mr Curtis said council had bought a used Bobcat that had 265 hours on it and saved $38,000 on the original price.

He said 95 per cent of equipment going through the auctions was with financial institutions.

Council resolved that a dozer bought at an auction and leased to a quarry company in Grafton for $6000 a month would be sold to the company for $250,000.

There was not enough work for the dozer to be financially viable, and the $250,000 was more than council had paid.

Council also resolved to sell an excavator. Its 30-tonne unit was in use, but the 24-tonner was sitting idle.



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