OUR CORNER: Buckley finds a clean solution

By John Leggett

File this under the category of “timing is everything.”

As I sat through another thrill-packed Buckley City Council meeting Nov. 10, I just about burst out laughing. There has been a lot of “funny” stuff going on in the council meetings lately, but in this particular instance, in the long run, everything worked out for the best.

Mark McNally, who chairs the utilities committee, inquired as to whether it would be a good idea to invest in a desperately needed replacement vacuum truck for the city.

The notion was met with severe skepticism. I thought to myself, he’s got about as much chance of selling this idea as a refrigeration company has of selling ice cubes to Eskimos.

Being as Buckley’s administration and finance committee is burning the midnight oil to hash out a workable budget for 2010 in this down-turned economy, McNally received dagger eyes from the three council members on the committee.

I truly felt for McNally, as he sat there nervously wringing his hands yet boldly pressing on with what he realized was just one more expenditure heaped upon an already-strained budget.

The timing was not optimal or even close to being ideal and McNally knew it, but he pressed on.

The problem is, Buckley’s vacuum truck is in such pathetic disrepair that to get rid of a recent problem with grease collecting in a certain section of town, Buckley had to borrow Enumclaw’s vacuum truck to unplug the clog.

But things are almost never as bad as they seem and the rest of the council continued to lend an ear to McNally’s plea.

He touted a 1988 Peterbilt that has had the vacuum/pump mechanism rebuilt for half the price ($12,000) that it would have fetched on the open market. The Peterbilt has twice the load capacity of the city’s old rig.

A motion was proposed and the purchase of the vaccuum truck was unanimously approved.

McNally was most proud of the fact a Buckley resident sold the city the truck – that he was obviously aware that Buckley’s coffers aren’t exactly overflowing with cash and was compassionate enough to come up with a viable and affordable solution.

Sahlberg Equipment, based in Buckley, was the outfitter that stepped forward in Buckley’s hour of need.

His company deals with city, county and state entities all the time and owner John Sahlberg realizes small towns like Buckley are having a rough time making ends meet in this economic crunch.

“We heard through the grapevine that Buckley had a need and after I discussed it with my wife, we decided to give the city the chance to fill a need, while making the terms of the sale too affordable to resist,” he said. “This is a wonderful little community, striving for greatness and we decided that since this is the season of giving it would be good timing.”