RUSK — After much discussion, listing the pros and cons and crunching the numbers, Rusk City Council voted Thursday to buy a new back hoe outright for the Rusk Street Department and finance a new computer networking system and software for City Hall and the Municipal Court.

City officials had budgeted to lease a back hoe, but council members decided to research the matter further at a meeting last month to see if a better deal could be had. Funds to lease both items were included in the current city budget — $50,000 for the back hoe and $40,000 for the computer system.

“The Street Department and the police department are both willing to give up the new vehicles that were budgeted this year,” City Manager Mike Murray told council members during the special meeting held Thursday. “That, plus the $50,000 already budgeted for the back hoe and the $8,000 we’d get on trade-in on our oldest back hoe — I think it’s definitely doable.”

Murray told the council that the police department could wait on purchasing a new squad car until the end of the year when a new budget was in place.

“They were generous enough to make this sacrifice; I think looking at getting two new cars next year wouldn’t be out of order,” Murray said.

Councilman Walter Session agreed.

“That’s pretty good that they’re willing to do that,” Session said.

In paying for the back hoe outright, the city saves $9,000 in interest and finance charges.

“I think we should save the taxpayers that much,” Councilman Don Jones said.

Councilman Kris Morgan voiced his concern about making such a big expenditure at one time.

“I like the idea of saving the interest,” Morgan said. “But we don’t want to put ourselves in a bind on the off chance something rips, slips or tears somewhere else.”

Murray said the money budgeted for all three vehicles and with the trade in on the old back hoe, there shouldn’t be any problem unless the council decided to pay for both the back hoe and the computer system outright at the same time.

“My toes would curl at the thought of trying to make that happen,” Murray said.

Mayor Angela Raiborn said she didn’t see a problem with financing the computer system.

“Since they are always upgrading and changing anyway, leasing might be better in the long run anyway,” Raiborn said.

In other business, the council had another look at the proposed changes to the city charter, but took no action on the issue since the entire council was not present to cast a vote on which amendments should be presented to Rusk voters. Sam Florian was absent.

A committee of citizens brought the amendments to the council in October. The council will take action on the item during the Feb. 14 regular meeting.

Council members also approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance of certificates of obligation for $1.57 million for the city’s new well construction project.

“This is somewhat more than what we need, to cover any unforeseen expenses,” Murray said.

Drilling of the new well should begin in two to three weeks.

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