The Appanoose County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase a new grader Monday, after hearing concerns from the county engineer on the age and condition of the county's grader fleet as winter approaches.

The decision came after periods of discussion, and other periods of silent stares as supervisors awaited one another's thoughts.

Supervisor Linda Demry at one point questioned whether the county should act on county engineer Matt Haden's recommendation, citing his outgoing status. His last day is Nov. 16.

"We have a new engineer coming in," Demry said. "Do we need to wait and get his opinion?"

"I don't think having a new engineer really makes much of a difference," Haden responded. "The facts are what the facts are."

"But he needs to be the one that determines how to spend his money," Demry replied.

"We're painting ourselves into a corner coming into winter with the machines that we've got," Haden said. "This is what I've been afraid of for the past two-plus years."

The cost of the new machine is roughly $208,000. The cost will come out of the county secondary road department's fund balances and was included in a budget amendment supervisors also approved Monday.

With the grader that claimed significant discussion in May expected to have its repairs completed this week. Supervisors opted to repair that grader instead of replace it. Supervisors learned Monday the cost was roughly $70,000 to repair. It was worth $40,000 in May.

"I don't think it's wise to put more money into machines than what it's worth," Haden said.

Once that grader is back up and running, the county will have seven running graders for nine districts, with no spares. Haden reported that two of the graders currently in-use have more than 20,000 hours on them.

Two others have now failed, one of which will be replaced by the new grader. The other has roughly 7,000 hours on it and will be repaired. Haden said it faces similar issues as the grader that was discussed in May.

Supervisors eventually approved repairing the one machine and replacing the other with a new grader 3-0.

Kyle Ocker can be reached at kocker@dailyiowegian.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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