Meadville approves purchase of tractor

by Sean Dunlap

After more than six months of shopping for a replacement municipal tractor with grass-cutting accessories, the Meadville Board of Aldermen settled on purchasing one from John Walsh for $35,000.

The measure was considered by the panel and adopted by a 4-0 margin during its monthly business meeting, which was held Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Meadville Town Hall.

Alderman David Scarbrough was not present for the decision.

“We’ve pretty much looked everywhere and finally found something that we could work with,” Mayor Lane B. Reed said of the purchase.

“Additionally, we will have one of our (sewer) lift stations paid off this year and we’ll put that money toward the tractor.”

The used tractor, a 7010 105 horsepower John Deere with about 6,400 hours of usage, was found to be in good working condition upon inspection by Public Works Director Howard Williams and Alderman Charles Calcote.

“It’s a four-wheel drive tractor with a long-arm (mower) that will reach 19 feet,” Calcote said. “We stayed there about four hours looking at it and went through the tractor with a fine-tooth comb.”

Both Reed and Calcote characterized the 1999 model tractor as a good deal for the town that would be put to work starting in the spring, when grass and weeds started growing — especially at the municipality’s sewer lagoon.

“Keeping up the lagoon is reason enough for us to consider buying this tractor,” Calcote continued. “We’re subject to fines if we fail to keep that up.”
Alderman Bart Jones concurred with Calcote’s assessment saying the tractor was a necessity — especially considering the town’s old tractor had seen better days and it was not economically advantageous for Meadville to sink money into its repair.

“If I needed a tractor and had $35,000, I would buy this one,” Calcote said in shoring up his recommendation on the purchase.

Reed indicated the town would finance the purchase price so that the deal could be consummated as soon as possible.

In other action to come before the Meadville Board of Aldermen, the panel considered these pieces of business:

• Accepted the resignation of Thomas “Bo” Sullivan as Meadville’s fire chief.

In January, Sullivan indicated he was wanting to step aside and forwarded a formal letter spelling out his desire to retire from the post.

• Heard the Midway Cemetery Association’s annual report from Vanessa Walker, who serves as president of the organization.

She said the report contained details regarding how many cemetery lots had been sold, the amount of contributions that were taken in to support to facility and details related to long-term investments.

“I am happy to say that we do not have any debts or liabilities,” Walker noted. “Our next major project is to expand as we have a little more room that we will have to utilize sooner rather than later.

“We’ve paid for everything that has been done at the cemetery, including having the trees cut and the stumps ground up,” she continued. “We had a lot of volunteer work done and some that was paid for, but it has improved the looks of the cemetery.”

She also noted the towns of Meadville and Bude have three representatives each on MCA’s oversight board, but pointed out one seat for Bude is presently vacant.

“We appreciate everything the community has done for Midway Cemetery, especially in sponsoring us for our fund-raisers,” Walker added. “It takes a lot to keep the grass cut and looking good — even with great volunteer support.”

One major effort has been the construction and installation of metal crosses on gravesites without headstones so as burial plots will not be lost with the passage of time.

• Set a public hearing for 10 a.m., Friday, March 10 in regards to the town’s filing of an application for funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Community Facilities grant program.

Municipal leaders are seeking up to $30,000 for the purchase of a new police vehicle.

• Authorized three recognitions for observances in the town, including American Heart Month, Mississippi Arbor Day and National Arbor Day.

• Opened bids from Bank of Franklin and United Mississippi Bank to serve as depositories for the town’s funds.

The panel authorized both financial institutions to serve in that capacity.

• Gave approval to the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade to be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 21.

• Town Clerk Leslie Thompson reported 14 past-due utility accounts during the previous month. Additionally, no water deposits were received during January.

• The Meadville Police Department reported it had responded to and investigated a handful of wrecks during the past month and was working with the Dollar General store in regards to shoplifting affidavits.

The Meadville Board of Aldermen’s next business meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 14. The session, at town hall, is open to the public.