Henderson testing inmates vs. machinery

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) - City officials in Henderson have agreed to
pit a crew of inmates against some heavy machinery to see which is
better at mowing and clearing overgrowth along a local waterway.
Officials say using the inmates would be much cheaper but the
workers may not be able to handle some of the overgrowth with
string trimmers and small push mowers.
Henderson City-County Flood Mitigation Board Chairman Buzzy
Newman, however, says he is concerned about using heavy machinery.
"I have some concerns about using a trackhoe," Newman said.
"It may cause damage to the established turf along the creek."
For two years the flood board has used contractors to clear
sections of Canoe Creek and manmade ditches to improve capacity for
draining floodwaters following major storms. But officials have
noted that the work is futile if trees are allowed to grow back
along the banks and then tumble into the waterway and create dams.
The flood board has agreed to stage a test, The Gleaner in
Henderson reported. Officials plan to put a tractor-mounted mower
on one side of Canoe Creek and a team of inmates on the other to
see which provides the best value for the city.
Double A Services, a contractor that has worked clearing
sections of the creek, has recommended using a trackhoe with a
heavy-duty hydraulic mower deck attached to its arm, Newman said.
But hiring a contractor to operate the heavy equipment is
expensive: $150 per hour, which amounts to $6,000 for a 40-hour
week, according to Newman.
Henderson County Jailer Ron Herrington says supervised inmates
could handle the job using smaller mowers and string trimmers. And
they would be a cheaper labor force.
"I think they would just charge for the labor for the guy out
there watching (the inmates) and food (for lunch) and fuel," board
member and Magistrate Bruce Todd said.
Information from: The Gleaner, http://www.thegleaner.com/

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-05-09 1649EST

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