By Rachel Shirey
STOCKBRIDGE — The City of Stockbridge recently purchased eight new Kubota Rural Terrain Vehicles to assist with sanitation and trash pickup.
The fleet was scheduled to roll out Tuesday.
The RTVs include specially designed hydraulic dump beds to replace the existing golf cart-style utility vehicles, some of which need replacement parts that are no longer available.
“The purchase will allow the city’s large commercial garbage trucks to park in strategic locations while the Kubotas quietly maneuver in and out of neighborhoods picking up refuse,” said Jeff Greenway, the city’s General Maintenance Supervisor. “When loaded, the Kubotas will quickly return to the parked vehicle and dump directly into the rear-load refuse packer truck.”
The Kubotas were purchased from Mason Tractor in McDonough for $30,513 each and sport a hydraulic dump body that can hold 2.5 cubic yards and a 1,000-pound limit.
The city previously used Cushmans and GO-4s that cost as much as $29,006 per vehicle and required an average annual expenditure of $1,903 per vehicle in parts and maintenance.
“They’ve had them for years,” Greenway said. “I’ve only been here for three years, and they had them before I got here, and over the time it’s just not cost-efficient, and they are dangerous.”
For example, Greenway said the vehicles’ brakes would fail and their transmissions would die, and all replacement parts had to be shipped from North Dakota.
Annette Anderson, city treasurer and CFO, said the city’s financial records date to 2001, and the city was using the Cushmans and GO-4s then.
The new machines “won’t break down as much,” Greenway said. “It’s a diesel motor. As far as fuel costs, it’ll be way cheaper then what we were using on a daily basis. We were having to fill the Cushmans and the GO-4s up two times a day. They were just old. They were just wore out.”
The new RTVs comfortably seat two passengers, operate with cost-efficient diesel engines and parts and service are available at the local dealership.
The units are street legal and have a 25-mph maximum speed and can operate in two or four-wheel drive.
“We will be getting tags for them,” Greenway said. “The city of Decatur ordered some several years ago, and they weren’t street legal so they passed a city ordinance to drive them on the streets. So we thought that’s what we were going to have to do, but now the VIN numbers are long enough, you can get tags for them.”
Greenway added the machines will be mostly used on back roads, and operators will try to avoid state highways. Drivers are also trained to pull over if there are more than two automobiles behind them.
City Administrator David Milliron said the purchase is expected to extend the lives of the city’s existing four trash trucks, which can cost and up to $400,000 apiece. The oldest truck is 19 years old.
Five of the Kubotas will be used on sanitation routes, two in the city parks and another will be put in reserve to replace any units being serviced.
The city expects to eventually surplus its existing utility vehicles, some of which have been heavily cannibalized for parts over the past two years to keep the equipment on the road.
The city has been saddled with rising costs with its existing fleet of utility vehicles, which could only seat a single employee each, required drivers to have a motorcycle endorsement, and have less-than-satisfactory safety and maintenance records, Greenway said.