News and Tribune

August 15, 2013

New Albany mulls stump grinder purchase

Trees on Spring Street dying of disease


NEW ALBANY — With the only ordinance on the agenda tabled, the New Albany City Council briefly discussed the purchase of a stump grinder for the street department.

John Gonder, council vice president, said after his meeting with the New Albany Tree Board on Wednesday, he thought it might make more sense for the city to purchase a grinder since the one they rented wasn’t sufficient for the job.

He said a number of trees along Spring Street are dying from disease, spurring the need for their removal.

Mickey Thompson, street department director, said with so many stumps to take care of, a grinder could be a good investment for the city.

“The one they had to rent was just too small,” Thompson said. “I think we wound up getting three done that day and we have probably 20, 25 trees that we’ve taken out that we need to go back and have the stump grinded.”

He said there are more that need to be cut down, too.

Gonder said a grinder would cost about $20,000, whereas hiring a contractor is about $400 per stump. He said if the city took care of 50 stumps, it would pay for the equipment. Thompson said in a year and a half, the city might need to grind 30 stumps.

But the department also needs salt trucks according to First District Councilman Dan Coffey. He said as the beds of salt trucks corrode, the department might have to start laying wood in them to make them usable for next winter.

“I think Mickey needs to come in and give us an idea of what some of the problems are and I really think we need to look at getting him some other equipment,” Coffey said. “That wood’s going to rot out easily in one winter. Unfortunately, the street department has always been kind of the stepchild, and I can say that because I was one, of local government.”

Thompson said with about $600,000 in state money coming to his department in 2014 and 2015, they might be able to replace some of the worst trucks.