Without a rent-before-purchase agreement that the county negotiated on the recent purchase of a road reclaimer, Carter County might be out $85,000 on a broken piece of equipment. Because of the agreement, though, they are only out the rent for the reclaimer and they hope to have even that money reimbursed since they didn't even get a day of work out of the reclaimer before it literally began falling apart on them.

During a special meeting on July 15 Malone gave the court an update on the recently rented reclaimer.

"That road reclaimer that we got, we got it calibrated and everything down at the lot and it did ok, although the engine sputtered and lost power on occasion," Malone explained, noting that though they got to hear it run, they didn't get to see it in action there at the purchase lot. The machine did not hold up under actual usage though.

"We took it out on Halfway Branch on Friday (the day after getting it calibrated), it was about 10:30, I went out to see how it had done," he continued. "It did about 200 feet of road and it literally fell apart."

Malone said the reclaimer was losing power, stalling, and that a part of the hydraulic system, which he called a hydraulic manifold, "blew out" the hydraulic lines. The mechanic that Malone had look at it told him that the last time it had been put together, it had been put back together with parts that had damaged threads. This is what lead to the hydraulic blow out. While checking on the hydraulic system the mechanic told Malone that he spotted some other issues with the reclaimer as well.

"Everyone there wanted to send it back," Malone said, so they called the dealer to come pick it up.

Just moving the reclaimer to a spot where the dealer could load it onto a low boy trailer, a distance of less than a mile, caused the two differentials to start smoking and become too hot to touch as well, he said. Malone said that not only will the county not be moving forward with the $85,000 purchase of the machine, he is also going to try to get the county's rental fee for the first six days back.

"I'm going to ask for our rent back on it, because that machine was not in workable condition when it was brought here," he said.

He said that when they went to initially look at the reclaimer it had to be jump started because it had been sitting for a little while, but there were no obvious hydraulic leaks or other issues when they drove it around the parking lot. Of course, he noted, they weren't able to tear up any of the parking lot to see how everything worked.

"I guess we were lucky, in a sense, that it failed while we had it rented," Malone said. "I think if we find another used machine I'm going to ask for a month's rental."

If it had torn up after the six days, he said, they would have "had to spend a lot of money on it."

In other action the court moved to approve claims and transfers and discussed options for truck purchases and surplus equipment sales . 

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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