The board of directors for Tullahoma Utilities Authority recently approved the purchase of more than half a million dollars-worth of equipment, including a new bucket truck, a new backhoe and a new 66-inch screw pump.

At its September meeting, TUA officials explained to the board that a number of factors, including age and condition of certain vehicles and parts, had necessitated the purchase of all three items.

Brian Coate, the vice president of electric and fiber, said the new bucket truck would assist in the myriad jobs TUA linemen perform in the electric system, including working on utility poles and correcting lines.

According to Coate, the truck he felt would work best for the authority was a Terex demo vehicle, based on price, delivery time, engine chastity, capabilities and other features.

Coate said the Terex truck was quoted with a delivery time of 75 days, but the company offering the truck told him he could expect delivery in closer to 45 days – something Coate was excited about.

“This truck is ready to go,” he told the board.

The Terex truck was approved for purchase by the board with a total price tag of $239,000.

In the water and wastewater department, TUA officials said age, equipment wear and tear and the scale of future projects necessitated the purchase of a new backhoe.

Dale Willis told the board TUA would need to replace a 66-inch screw pump at the wastewater plant for a cost of $103,111. According to Willis, the screw pump is one of three at the wastewater plant and has deteriorated significantly.

The department was going to take steps to paint the screw pump in order to extend its life, but the contractor felt that sandblasting the pump would “take off the metal” instead of helping.

According to Willis, the screw pump in question was installed when the wastewater plant was expanded in 1994, meaning the pump is 25 years old.

Willis added that the department would need a new backhoe due to the size and scale of all the projects it’s taking on, such as the Wilson Avenue water line replacement project going on currently.

The backhoe is “currently larger than any backhoe we have now,” according to Willis, but because the crews are attempting to “dig a little deeper,” they need a backhoe with more horsepower.

Willis said there was $150,000 budgeted for the purchase of new equipment, but the backhoe would cost less than $140,000. The total price tag on the backhoe is set at $136,938.35.

According to Willis, the backhoe purchase was procured through a state contract rather than a bid from TUA. Had TUA bid out the backhoe project, there was a chance that it would have ended up with a brand of backhoe that they didn’t want, according to TUA President Brian Skelton.

All three purchases were unanimously approved by the board at the meeting.

Erin McCullough may be reached at

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