City affected by specialized mower shortage

Chad Frey
The Kansan
A shortage of specialized mowers for golf courses may force the city of Newton to change a purchase of more than $300,000 of equipment approved earlier this year.

COVID-19 has led to supply chain disruptions in a number of industries — and those disruptions are now affecting golf equipment, and in turn the city of Newton. 

The city commission approved the lease of about a dozen pieces of maintence equipment — mostly specialized mowers — at its Feb. 9 meeting. The agreement stipulated a lease with payments of more than $5,000 monthly. 

The Newton City Commission will discuss changing a contract for equipment approved last year for Sand Creek Station during a special meeting May 25. Under that contract, the city approved a downpayment of $200,000 with 60 months of lease payments for a total of $301,295.  At the end of five years the city could exercise a $1 buyout clause to take ownership of the equipment. 

The funds are to be paid out of the Economic Development Fund, a fund that is funded with sales tax collections. 

However, the equipment supplier — Kansas Golf and Turf — is not able to get all of the equipment ordered by the city. 

According to Donna Pickman, director of finance for the city, ".KGT does have a partial grouping of equipment." What they have could be purchased outright by the city for $200,000 — an amount the city had approved as a downpayment for the lease agreement. 

"They are requesting that the City of Newton purchase this equipment outright for the down payment amount," Pickman wrote in a memo to city commissioners. "When the rest the equipment arrives, estimated around August 2021, the lease will be executed at that time with the same payment schedule as previously approved. The City will receive the same warranties on the equipment purchased outright as they would on the equipment under a lease."

The lease payments would be about $5,021 monthly, for 60 months, when they begin. Those payments would not start until the remaining equipment is delivered. 

Also during the noon special meeting the commission will discuss bids for property clean ups and a street closure for a fund-raiser downtown in June. The commission will not meet for its regular session at 7 p..m.