3/26/2013 11:44:00 AM West Concord City Council
City needs new
fire and plow trucks
By Nan Babcock
With a good report on the city's financial health, West Concord's city council is preparing to head into the 2013 construction season.
At their March 21 meeting, Mike Burkhardt of the auditing firm of Burkhardt & Burkhardt presented the figures from the annual audit. He told council members the financial records are in excellent condition, thanks to the work of City Administrator Kay Hanson, and revenue is up while expenses are down. The refinancing of city bonds last summer was a major factor in the improvement.
City Engineer Joe Palen presented a revised version of the city's Assessment Policy. He had recommended that it be updated before the start of this year's construction season. The changes are for clarification as well as updating, he said. The policy was last revised in 2003, and the economy has changed since then.
"Prices of oil products such as bituminous have increased dramatically, which has increased construction costs," he noted. A significant change for city residents is that, where the old policy called for the owners of the property adjoining the road construction would bear the cost of the improvements, under the new policy they will pay 50 percent. Also, the improvement they pay for has to increase the value of the property by the amount of the assessment, and if it fails to do so, the city must reduce the assessment. Council members approved the revision.
Joe reported that the county improvement project of County Highway 24 from Hwy 56 east to Old Concord will have bids awarded in April with construction starting in mid-June. The city is required to hold a public hearing for the project and they voted to schedule the hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at City Hall, just prior to their regular monthly meeting.
Council member Ryan Faye told the council the city plow is having major maintenance issues. It was broken down for three hours in the middle of a major snowstorm last month, he said. "We're not scheduled to replace it until 2020," he said, but it won't last that long. He pointed out that in the middle of a snowstorm, they can't just go rent a truck, and they can't clear the town with the Bobcat. A brand new plow truck would cost $250,000, but he talked to Boyer Ford, and was told they always get used ones in at this time of year, and can probably replace the plow for about $80,000. It will be put on the agenda for next month's meeting.
Kay pointed out that the fire department is expecting to replace a truck this year that will be a major expenditure, and replacing both could put a strain on the city's cash flow. Mayor Jeff McCool, who is also on the fire department said they haven't been able to locate a used one that has the features they're looking for. They particularly want one with high pressure water flow, which will be a big asset at rural fires where the water supply is limited.
One of their options is to order a truck, which will take nine months for delivery. Council member Al Organ suggested that they order the truck on a time-line that will have it delivered early in 2014, which would be better for the city financially.
In other business, the council:
approved a one-year extension of their contract for refuse hauling with ARI.
approved changing the city's phone service to 100 percent Frontier. About half of the city's lines are currently with Mediacom, and city staff have not been satisfied with the service they get from Mediacom. They are receiving a rate from Frontier that is $10 less per line than Mediacom.
tabled a discussion about entering an agreement with SEMMCHRA. Al said he doesn't want to make a decision until SEMMCHRA's dispute with the county is settled. Council member Karen Peterson added the city doesn't have the money SEMMCHRA is asking for their services.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for April 18 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall.