The City of Helena-West Helena has entered into an agreement with Ag Pro for new lawn mowing equipment.

The City of Helena-West Helena has entered into an agreement with Ag Pro for new lawn mowing equipment. Wally Cox of Ag Pro and Bobby Carey of Greenway provided estimates and discussed the need for mowers and tractors in the Helena-West Helena Street Department with city officials. “Currently you're looking at leasing several pieces of equipment, which includes a Z920 mower and a 5055E tractor under a 4-year municipal lease at about $1,467.18 a month,” reported Carey. According to Street Department Manager Oscar Hoskins, the department's current equipment is not sufficient to meet the demand of cutting that needs to be done. “Payment for the new lease is already budgeted. We are just looking for the approval of the council,” commented Hoskins. Councilman Jay Hollowell explained that with the possibility of consolidating the street and sanitation departments virtually all-mowing responsibilities would fall on the street department. “Will you have enough manpower to handle the demand?” asked councilman Joe St. Columbia. Hoskins informed the council that the new equipment being reviewed would be enough to get the job done, and continue to get the job done. Councilman Larry Brown asked if the street department is currently spraying some of the local areas that seem to be overgrown. Hoskins reported that currently the street department is spraying but the cost of chemicals is higher than previous years. Cox also provided an estimate on the equipment needed as the mowing season is upon the city of Helena-West Helena. “We take care of the maintenance on these machines and handle all the upkeep on them plus an additional 1-year warranty on these machines,” said Cox. Cox explained that the quote presented is a government operation lease and contains non-appropriation clauses, allowing the city to end the lease if money is not appropriated from year to year. “Generally, customers that use this lease find they can 'trade out of these leases' around half term and be able to keep equipment through the warranty period and maintain the same payment with new equipment under a new warranty and alleviate the repair cost and downtime of aged equipment,” explained Cox. Cox went onto say that the reason they do this is because they have no intention on the city keeping these machines over three years, as a roll over on these machines is accepted and well advised. According to Cox, the equipment needed is equivalent to the current equipment now, just with new model numbers. Equipment requests include two 930 Z-traks, a 5083 Cab with front end loader, a 5083 cab four-wheel drive tractor and a John Deer HX15 Batwing Rotary cutter. Hoskins commented that there is also an issue concerning having to cut private property lots due to the overwhelming number of vacant lots in the area. “I wouldn't want to be living next door to a vacant building that's falling apart, got grass growing chest high and accommodating rodents, snakes and pests either,” commented Hollowell. According to Hoskins the street department is billing the vacant property owners. However, little funds are trickling in. Hollowell motioned that the council enter in to the lease agreement with Ag Pro for the 3 Z-traks, and the 5050 tractor. Mayor Arnell Willis informed the council that there is no substantial down payment due. However, the first month's payment is required. The motion passed.