The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday looked the relative merits of buying or leasing equipment for the secondary roads department.
County engineer Roger Patocka provided figures for purchasing or renting a backhoe and excavator because the board would like to use the equipment to clean out road ditches - something that would help drainage plus build up roads in key spots.
"It doesn't surprise me that ownership may be cheaper than rental," said board chair Alan Madden who suggested that trading in equipment every five years might reduce depreciation.
Patocka said it was also important to have equipment on hand when it's needed - which wouldn't be the case if equipment were rented over the summer.
Madden suggested looking for a used excavator for this year.
When Patocka said it would be hard to find a used excavator that didn't need a lot of repairs, Madden suggested he try Michaelson, Inc. in Armstrong.
"I think it's time we started dipping our toe into this" Madden said of the county doing its own ditch maintenance and related projects. He said if the county bought used equipment and later decided to no longer do its own work, "it would be a very small negative."
Madden underscored that taxpayers were asking about the county cleaning ditches and that he would like to see Patocka come up with "some hard-and-fast prices."
Patocka also noted quotes had been requested by April 26 for a motor grader which would be on the board's April 30 agenda.