The Smithville Aldermen Monday night, at the request of Fire Chief Charlie Parker, voted to seek bids on the purchase of a new or demo model aerial ladder truck for the city fire department.
Last summer, the aldermen set aside $400,000 in capital outlay funds in this years budget to go toward the purchase of a used ladder truck, if a suitable one could be found. But during a workshop with the mayor and aldermen on Monday, February 28th, Chief Parker, proposed purchasing a new or demo model.
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Parker said Monday night that the bid specs would be for a new truck but the city could settle for a demo model depending upon the age of the truck, as long as it meets or comes close to meeting the bid specs.
The cost of a new ladder truck is likely to be significantly more than the $400,000 the city has allocated and Mayor Taft Hendrixson expressed reservations about advertising for bids when the city does not have enough money set aside for a truck that may cost as much as $675,000. Any additional funding for a new truck would most likely have to come from the city's general fund surplus reserves.
Still, the aldermen felt like it was okay to take bids but they did not allocate any additional funding for a ladder truck at this time.
Chief Parker said if the city were to buy a new truck, it could use all or part of the $400,000 allocation as a down payment and finance the rest of the cost possibly over a three to five year period through a lease purchase arrangement.
After the vote to accept bids, Mayor Hendrixson cautioned the aldermen to be careful how they're spending the city's reserve funds. "In this year's budget, we've either spent or allocated, pushing half of our reserve funds. We have either spent, allocated, or obligated over three million dollars of our reserve funds. Gentlemen, one more year of this and we'll be out of money like most places around us. I know you are aware of this but it has been worrying me. It bothers me really bad."
In other business, the aldermen voted 4-0-1 to make a few amendments to the golf course lease, which was approved two weeks ago with Tony Poss.
At the February 21st meeting, the aldermen voted 5 to 0 to enter into a ten year lease agreement with Poss to operate the Smithville Municipal Golf and Swim Club. Poss will pay the city $100 per year in rent. After the first ten years, Poss will have an option to extend the term of the lease agreement for an additional ten years.
During a workshop Monday night, February 28th, Poss and his attorney Hilton Conger requested a few amendments to the lease.
Mayor Hendrixson, during Monday night's meeting, explained what those proposed changes would be. "Two or three things he wanted to change on it. He (Poss) wanted the lease to be for him and his wife. On the irrigation system, he (Poss) has agreed to pay the first $500 during the year (on repairs) and after that we (city) will pay the rest of the cost to keep it (irrigation system) in operation. We(city) will pay the first six months of utilities at the golf course."
Termination of the lease must be for cause with a ninety day written notice given.
All Aldermen voted for the changes to the lease except for Aaron Meeks who passed.
In other business, Alderman Steve White said he wanted "No alcoholic beverage" signs placed at all city parks including the golf course prohibiting open containers or the consumption of alcohol there. City Attorney Vester Parsley said he needed to check first to see if the city should adopt an ordinance.
Airport manager Wesley Nokes asked for the city's approval to accept a grant for the airport. " We've been awarded a grant for $55,000 for a new airport layout plan. An airport layout plan is a five year plan that outlines the development of the airport for the next five years as it's perceived by the state and by our contract engineering firm. The state and federal government wants you to keep this plan undated in order to continue to receive your grants and funding from the FAA and from the State of Tennessee Aeronautics. The grant is a 90/10 (matching grant). It's a $5,500 cost to the city. The rest will be paid by the state."
The aldermen voted to accept the grant.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson gave a report on the city's property tax collections. "On our 2010 property taxes, we have a total of $773,413 including public utility taxes and property taxes. As of last Friday, March 4th we have collected $728,117. This is 94% collections as of last Friday. I think that's wonderful."
The aldermen voted to purchase a used pick-up to replace an animal control truck which was damaged in a traffic accident last week. Mayor Hendrixson said the city has $5,000 in capital outlay funds which would be put toward this purchase although he does not want to spend all that on a truck. He said the city could probably get a good price on a used truck through state surplus.
The aldermen voted to hire Darrell Adkins and Joseph Parsley now that they have completed their sixty day probation period. Adkins was hired December 29th to work in the sanitation department at $9.65 per hour. His pay will increase to $11.03 per hour.
Parsley was hired on December 29th as a sanitation truck driver at $10.35 per hour. His pay will increase to $11.03 per hour.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson asked for and received permission from the aldermen to make the following transfers: Darrell Adkins from sanitation to sewer rehab; R.J. Bain from water maintenance to sewer rehab; and Riley Bullard from sanitation to water maintenance. Mayor Hendrixson said that some employees have retired and he wanted to make these transfers so that the city could make the best use of their services.
Alderman Steve White said he would like the city to look into adopting a policy to require that all new city employees hired in the public works department and other areas where they have to operate city vehicles to obtain a Commercial Drivers License, possibly before they become full time or get a pay raise. This would not apply to the city police or fire departments or city hall employees. No action was taken Monday night
Alderman Shawn Jacobs asked again if anyone had checked with a local bank, with whom the city does business, which had cleared checks with only one city official's signature. City Attorney Parsley said "we found out that the accounts were set up requiring one signature." Parsley added that the bank manager "gave us the signature cards which said only one signature required."
Parsley said the bank manager added that while the city could require two signatures, if a check comes through with only one signature, the bank may not catch it because these types of transactions are mostly done electronically. "Electronically, they're only looking at numbers. They only check to see if the numbers are right."
Mayor Hendrixson concluded "we're in the process of getting that changed (to require two signatures on checks). Checks will be printed that state "must have two authorized signatures".