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Longboat Key Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 3 years ago

Irma prods Longboat to buy grapple truck

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The town is on course to purchase a grapple truck next year, a purchase the public works department has been advocating for 10 years.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

A shiny, new grapple truck could be in Longboat Key’s future.

At a workshop this week, the Town Commission agreed to the town’s pursuit of purchasing the $138,400 piece of equipment, the first step in buying a loader that outgoing Public Works Director Juan Florensa said he’s been asking the town for since at least 2007.

“It’s not a cheap piece of equipment,” Florensa said. “It’s a specialized truck that we may not use on a daily basis.”

But it will come in handy when the town needs to clear debris left by storms, much like the island witnessed earlier this year with Hurricane Irma, said Public Works Director Isaac Brownman.

The grappling arm on this truck, which can grab more vegetative debris in one scoop than a skid-steer loader could, would expedite the cleanup process in the wake of natural disasters, Brownman said. One of the major delays with Irma was waiting for contracted grapple trucks to make their way through town.

Town crews could use the equipment to load palm fronds blown off trees by high winds or scoop dead fish off the beach after a red tide outbreak, Brownman said.

See also: Longboat debris removal nears completion

The equipment may also help the department with cleanup at town parks, allowing crews to pile vegetative debris in one area for the grapple truck rather than multiple piles that would be loaded by other machines.

The Public Works Department plans to pay for the grapple truck with $103,800 of the $664,705 Road and Bridges Fund, funded by primarily gas taxes, and $34,600 of the $512,364 in the Beach Capital Project Fund.

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