Employing tele-meeting technology, the Northeast Arkansas Solid Waste Management District board of directors voted to spend the money to replace one of its pieces of equipment recently stolen.

At its meeting last week conducted through the ZOOM application, the board voted to lease a Caterpillar skid steer from Riggs Caterpillar of Jonesboro to replace one stolen recently from the district.

According to saloodo.com, a skid steer, or skid steer loader, is a small construction equipment vehicle used for digging, lifting, moving material, removing dirt, spreading material, and so on. A typical skid steer has no steering mechanism, but maneuvers by skidding (dragging) across the ground where it is placed.

“We got the insurance money, so it’s paid off,” said Executive Director Jason Wolfenbarger to open discussion of how to replace the machine. Although interest rates are currently extremely low, the board decided to lease the skid steer rather than buy it, owing to the availability of service of the device throughout the lease period.

“Every two years we can get a new piece of equipment,” Wolfenbarger said, “and when the warranty runs out [on purchased equipment], that’s when you start having problems.”

Paragould Mayor and board chair Mike Gaskill agreed. “We lease our trash trucks,” added Gaskill, “and every two years we get a new truck.”

Total cost of the machine is $54,263 from Riggs. The district had also received a quote of $62,006 from Little Rock-based JCB. Wolfenbarger told the board the two machines had the same specifications and capability. He said Monday that the lease payments would be about $948 a month.

In response to the theft, the board approved added security measures including a proposal to install a new fence around the landfill on Greene 890 Road.

“It will cost $70,000, with us taking down the old fencing,” Wolfenbarger told the board. “So I’m asking for $80,000 because we won’t always have the people available to take it down.”

The total cost for the fence, including $3,600 for a keypad to unlock the gate, comes to $69,988, as quoted by Dacus Fence Co. of Jonesboro. Wolfenbarger had recommended the keypad because the landfill also houses the sheriff’s department’s firing range, and a simple padlock would require abut 40 keys.

“This [skid steer] is the first piece of equipment we’ve had stolen since I’ve been here,” Wolfenbarger said Monday, “and it’s the first one that we haven’t been able to recover.”

He added the theft had occurred May 7, and had been discovered May 8.

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