Saturday, January 19, 2019

City Council to Consider Benedetti Machine Buyback Provision

The City failed to execute its vision of resurfacing San Angelo's rapidly deteriorating roads with an internal crew.  City Council will entertain returning the Hot in Place Asphalt Recycler (HIPAR) machine at its January 22nd meeting.

Council approved spending $1.2 million to buy the equipment and later approved higher pay for the crew operating the Benedetti Phoenix. 

The staff memo stated:

After 18 months of utilizing the HIPAR process on various roadways throughout San Angelo, Staff has concluded that the operation does not meet an acceptable rate of efficiency on San Angelo's roadways.
City documents indicate city crews operated the machine a mere four months for the period October 20217 to October 2018.  The city had the equipment for 18 months but did not operate it for most of that period.

The city projected resurfacing 60,000 square yards with the equipment.  It did but a fraction of that.

The vendor expressed his desire for the City of San Angelo to be a model for his company's road resurfacing equipment and is likely disappointed to learn of the city's plan to exercise the buyback provision.

As for the "acceptable rate of efficiency" how much of the responsibility belongs with the equipment and how much to the operating crew?  That can be difficult to discern.

The city's position will be heard at Council.  The agenda had a letter from Assistant Operations Director Patrick Frerich and indicates Operations Director Shane Kelton will make the presentation.  There are no slides from Kelton in the background packet.

Will any Council members inquire as to how the city performed relative to its original cost projections?  The projected costs can be seen in staff's slide.  What were the actual costs?    

Also, the vendor might have something to say about the situation and how things progressed to the city's exercising the buyback provision.  This information may be useful as Council considers alternatives for addressing street disasters in our community.

The City of Fredericksburg, Texas prides itself on having zero potholes and they reconstruct minor streets with internal crews.  Their Public Works Director was once our City Engineer.  Council may want to cast a wider net for advice in dealing with our crumbling street infrastructure.

Update 1-22-19:  San Angelo Live ran a story on the city asking the vendor for a refund as the composition of city streets wasn't conducive to the machine's operation.

Update 1-25-19:  Operations Director Shane Kelton informed City Council many cities in the Northeast are using the Benedetti machine successfully but the City of San Angelo Street Department could not perform as well. Only Akron, Ohio appears in a promotional video for Benedetti.


Update 6-2-23:  The Benedetti buyback will hit City Council's agenda for 6-6-23.

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