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Village Board approves new Public Works wood chipper, communication system

Director Gary Richardson hopeful new equipment will benefit department and residents

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill (April 18, 2019) – The Village Board voted unanimously to adopt two resolutions during its April 16 meeting allowing Lansing Public Works to purchase a wood chipper and a digital communication system.

Wood Chipper

A new chipper was budgeted for in 2018 but a purchase was never made. $70,000 was budgeted for the new machine, though the chipper Richardson selected—a Morbark 1821—will cost about $12,000 less than that, totaling $58,163.73.

Richardson’s proposal to purchase a new Morbark 1821 wood chipper stems from his desire to make tree trimming and tree removal a more prominent part of Public Work’s services. (Photo provided by Lansing Public Works)

The current chipper employed by the Public Works Department is over ten years old and gets used almost daily during the summer months.

“The past month or so I’ve been assessing equipment, and the chipper that we have here—will it make it through another summer? I don’t know. On a regular, constant basis for what I want to do, it may not. But it can be used as a backup—and that’s what I plan on doing with it.”

The idea to purchase a new chipper stems from Richardson’s desire to make tree trimming and tree removal a more prominent part of the department’s services.

Lansing Public Works Director Gary Richardson began working for the Village in January of this year. (Photo by: Josh Bootsma)

Richardson says the new machine will be more efficient than the old one, hopefully allowing Public Works to serve more Lansing residents.

Public Works Director Gary Richardson first brought the proposal before the Village Board Committee of the Whole on March 19.

The following information is taken from the Village of Lansing website regarding tree branch services: “As time and weather permit, Public Works will circulate throughout the Village to pick up branches no bigger than a 4″ diameter with their wood chipper. Please stack branches neatly with the cut end to the road. This service is meant as a pruning/storm damage service.”

This service occurs in Lansing on the same day that garbage is collected.

Diga-Talk communication system

The Village Board also approved the purchase of a Diga-Talk communication system. The systems uses push-to-talk devices as a modern two-way radio, and will allow Public Works employees to contact each other more easily, according to Richardson.

Currently, employees use smartphones to communicate, which can cause problems when they are driving or doing tasks that make pulling out and answering a phone difficult.

The Digi-Talk two-way radio and GPS system would help both Public Works and Lansing residents, says Richardson. (Photo provided by Lansing Public Works)

“We work in some dangerous situations—I don’t think people always understand. My water department, my sewer department—these guys go down in sewers and holes. I’m down in a hole and I have to figure out my phone to make a phone call?” said Richardson while shaking his head.

He is also hopeful that this addition will allow the department to respond to situations faster and more effectively, thereby serving residents better.

According to Richardson, the Public Works Department used to have two-way radios in their trucks, but most are not in use anymore. Having a two-way radio that can be tracked with a GPS signal will be worthwhile for the department, he says.

At the April 16 meeting, the Village Board approved the purchase of 22 Diga-Talk units, costing a total of $5,730. At the March 19 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Richardson suggested using the savings from the under-budget chipper purchase to pay for the radio system.

Immediately before the vote on April 16, trustees Maureen Grady-Perovich and Brian Hardy asked some clarifying questions regarding the ongoing use of Public Works smartphones. Richardson and Lansing Director of Technology Fabian Newman explained that employees will continue to use their smartphones for internet purposes, as well as overnight communication needs when the Diga-Talk systems must be left at the Public Works garage.

Lansing Public Works is located at 3300 171st Street and is open from 7:00am—3:00pm Monday through Friday. To contact the department, call 708-895-7190 during business hours or 708-895-7150 for after-hour emergencies.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.


  1. Why not use this MONEY on the streets.. Every street in this town are so bad. And you want people to move in this town ?? In our area we all think this is a BAD idea!!! This town became a sad situation!!

  2. Wow, if the current wood chipper is good enough as a back up there is no justification it needs to be replaced. If you have the money it doesn’t mean you have to spend it on that which we don’t need. Probably why it wasn’t spend when it was allocated. What was that? Oh, you just wanted it.

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