The Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District approved the sale of its road maintenance equipment on Monday, including two graders and two water trucks, after turning over its remaining roads to the Town of Loxahatchee Groves.
The equipment will be transported to an auction company in Orlando and go to the highest bidder.
LGWCD Administrator Steve Yohe said he had met with several auctioneers for alternatives to sell the equipment and recommended Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.
“They have a five-day auction on Feb. 19-23,” Yohe said. “I went on their web site. They’re all over the world. We get to advertise in their materials that would be sent all over the world. They specialize in heavy equipment. It is in Orlando, and we are responsible for delivering the equipment to their site.”
The estimated transportation cost is $100 per hour for a lowboy, for a total of about $4,000.
“Ritchie Bros. offered to deliver it to the site and auction for us for about $4,000, and the exact amount will come out of the contract if you so choose them,” he said. “That will be deducted from the sale of the equipment.”
Yohe also recommended becoming a partner with the Palm Beach County Thrift Store, which auctions office equipment primarily, at no fee to the seller. He added that if the board selects Ritchie Bros., they would need time to come and appraise the equipment and get photos for advertising.
During public comment, resident and contractor Frank Smith made an offer to buy the equipment outright, but Supervisor Connie Bell and Chair Anita Kane agreed with Yohe that selling to Smith would circumvent the public process to allow other buyers the opportunity to bid.
Supervisor Laura Danowski was torn between taking the equipment to auction and paying a fee, as opposed to selling it outright to a local buyer.
“If this gentleman is sitting here and can say, ‘OK I’m going to get my mechanic here and we’re going to look at it… and give you a hard money guarantee by Jan. 1, we either do the deal or we don’t. On Jan. 2, we can call Ritchie Bros. and say, ‘Come and get it,’” Danowski said.
Supervisor Simon Fernandez said he was familiar with the Ritchie Bros. operation and thought it was a good time to offer the equipment to an international market.
Fernandez made a motion to send the equipment to Ritchie Bros., which carried 4-1 with Danowski opposed.
In other business, the board approved a proposed field work schedule that included the relocation of an earthen guardrail on North A Road and North Road, North D Road restoration and cleaning culverts in district canals, in addition to regular mowing and hedging, and maintenance of flood control structures.
The relocation of the earthen guardrail on North A Road and North Road is budgeted for $10,000.
“This issue was caused as a result of canal and road repair work conducted for FEMA in 2012 and early 2013 as a result of damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaac,” Yohe said. “District staff conducted emergency repairs to certain canal banks by replacing earthen guardrails on top of the side of the pavement, thereby reducing the width of the road by up to approximately 18 inches in some areas. This encroachment must be removed to restore the width of the road and to allow for the seventh-year resurfacing of the roads… in 2019.”
The guardrail project is to begin in January and be completed by April 2018, weather permitting. Notification will be provided to the town.
Restoration of the North D Road canal includes $20,000 for a silt screen, day laborers and a rental excavator and bulldozer to assist in-house staff and equipment, similar to the other 19 miles of canals restored since 2013. Notification will be provided to the town and all adjacent property owners. The project is scheduled to begin in May 2018 and be complete by August.
“Most of that time span is to allow mud that is pulled out to dry and then be spread, so several months of it is just the drying process,” he said.
For canal cleaning, $30,000 is budgeted to hire a contractor for culvert cleaning.
“District staff and equipment will assist to remove and dispose of the material removed from the culverts,” he said. “Staff proposes to do this work in phases, starting with culverts south of Okeechobee Blvd., and competitively bid each phase of work.”
Work is anticipated to begin in July 2018 and be completed by the end of August.
Yohe said he did not know if $30,000 would cover all the culverts, but they would clean as many as they could in 2018 and re-budget for the future if necessary.
“Many of these are landowner culverts, and landowners did not go out and fill their culverts, so it is a district responsibility, in my opinion,” he said, adding that some of the culverts will have to be examined closely to assure that they are not damaged.
“We will also have to notify each of the landowners who own these culverts and get their approval prior to conducting that work,” Yohe said.