Today is Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Council OK's more salt

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“We’re not totally out of salt, but we’re pretty well depleted,” said Jeff Baines, commissioner of Public Works.

The purchase will allow Craighead to buy an additional 350-400 tons of salt, which Baines said should be enough to get through the rest of the winter, but added there’s no way to be sure.

“I think we owe that to the public to be prepared,” Baines said.

The large amount of salt will cost the city around $24,000, which can’t be taken out of the Street Department’s budget. What will be coming out of that budget is the money to purchase a used truck to act as an additional salt-spreader should they need it.

Council also allowed the Street Department to begin looking for a used 1-ton truck with a flat bed and dump so it can be a multi-use vehicle for the department, acting both as a salt-spreader and being useful in the non-winter months.

Lee Clark, general services administrator for the Street Department, said they have four trucks right now to spread salt and the new vehicle will increase their ability to spread more quickly and efficiently.

The department has $32,000 to use when looking for a truck, which is around half the price of purchasing a new one, Baines pointed out.

Also on the council’s work session agenda was a reimbursement issue between private property owners that may benefit from development by Garry McNabb, Teresa McNabb and Garry McNabb, Trustee on Tuckers Gap Road and Hartmann Drive.

City Attorney Andy Wright said all parties agreed to have the ordinance withdrawn from the council’s agenda. It was deferred to Tuesday night’s meeting from the Dec. 22 meeting.

“I don’t think we can do it the way we were trying to do it,” Wright said, referring to the city collecting reimbursements from private property owners and giving them to another private property owner.

Wright said the city absolutely has the authority to administer special assessments on municipal or public improvements and provided documentation to show these kinds of assessments in Lebanon’s past.

Wright said in this case, they aren’t dealing with a municipal improvement and can’t act in the way the ordinance expected. They did say that the property owners can privately agree to pay reimbursements, but the city cannot make property owners pay those reimbursements and give them to the other party.

“If we hadn’t run that road out there (Hartmann Drive), we wouldn’t even be having this problem with these apartments,” Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston said.

Many of the councilors were talking during the Dec. 22 meeting about the city being able to collect reimbursements from everyone who has developed and benefited from the city’s construction of Hartmann Drive. The city did not take that action when the road was built several years ago.

During the council’s regular meeting, many of the councilors thanked Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell and the Lebanon Fire Department for their work at the industrial fire Monday afternoon.

While Mt. Juliet has been the center of a hot debate concerning fire and emergency services, the council had their own disputes with response from the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.

Huddleston asked Dowell how many firefighters he had on the scene, Dowell said that every available person he had was there fighting the flames, and for around 45 minutes no one was at the station.

“So if in those 45 minutes we had another fire somewhere, there would have been no one to respond?” Huddleston asked Dowell, who replied, “That is correct.”

Dowell said reserve personnel arrived at the stations but trickled in slowly while LFD was fighting the flames at the computer recycling building located off Highway 109. Dowell pointed out that the fire engine set to be approved for purchase during Tuesday night’s meeting was going to be left at Station 1 in such an event so that if another fire occurred the LFD would have adequate staff to respond.

The council passed ordinances to purchase the fire engine and equipment unanimously. All other ordinances and resolutions were passed unanimously as well except one to replace the traffic signal at South Cumberland Street and Gay Street.

One company that sent in the lowest bid did not follow the proper procedure, as required by the city. Wright said they could either dismiss the infraction as a minor problem, or they can re-bid the whole job.

S&W Contracting CO., Inc. had removed documents from their $95,999.50 bid to replace the light. Wright said the council had the right to accept the bid anyway by dismissing the infraction as a minor issue.

Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry supported accepting the bid anyway because the only other bid from Stansell Electric was $112,688, being over the project’s budget.

Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath made a motion to reject the bid and re-bid the whole project. That motioned carried 5-1 with Barry voted against rejecting the bid.

Council also scheduled a special-called meeting for 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 6, to vote on second reading of four ordinances, one to approve the purchase of the fire engine and another for the equipment and tools for the LFD.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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