Updating purchasing procedures discussed

·4 min read

Jul. 21—Challenges in getting equipment has members of the Crossville City Council wondering if they need to update purchasing procedures.

Recently, the council approved purchase specifications for a new mower for the maintenance department. But there wasn't a mower available that matched the description. When another mower was found — with similar abilities and within the budgeted amount — the matter had to return to the council for approval.

"We have it budgeted, but we have to vote on it again?" said Councilman RJ Crawford during the July 5 council work session. "This is an antiquated process. We're slowing it down."

Councilman Rob Harrison said he had previously proposed increasing the dollar limit the city manager can approve without council approval from $5,000 to $10,000, though that would not cover the purchase of the mower.

The city awarded a bid for a zero-turn mower to Mountain Farm International, with a bid of $11,739. But, when the bid was approved, the mower originally quoted was no longer available.

The city recommended an Exmark mower for $15,947, which was still within the budgeted amount.

Steve Powell, maintenance supervisor, said it was not even certain the mower he had located would be available.

"This mower was actually sitting somewhere Thursday. It's the only one that was — I don't even know if it's still available," Powell told the council during its July 5 work session. "It's a good mower."

He asked for permission to put the mower on hold, but the council can't take action on items during a work session. It can only discuss matters coming before the council.

"It's urgent that we only have one mower," Powell said. "It was budgeted and bid out. We have another one in this year's budget — I don't know how we're going to get it."

Crawford said, "If it's within budget — with equipment, you get it when you can get it or you're waiting. We need to look at how we fix this for at least the next year or so."

Councilman Scot Shanks asked if the city manager could call individual councilmembers for authorization, but the city council can only take action during a called meeting.

The purchase was approved during the July 12 city council meeting as part of the consent agenda.

The council also approved proceeding with repairs to the city fire department's ladder truck which was damaged in February when the ladder came into contact with power lines during a routine check at the city's Station No. 2 on Industrial Blvd.

Contact with the electrical lines damaged the ladder, cables and components, the electrical system of the fire apparatus, and possibly more. Repairs are estimated at $651,927, though the city is only responsible for the $5,000 insurance deductible, which has been paid.

Fire Chief Chris South estimated repairs could take up to 18 months to complete, though he said Pierce had notified him parts were being ordered to begin repairs.

"We've still got 'old faithful' in service," South said, referring to the 1994 ladder truck.

Other items approved by the council include:

—selection of GRW Engineers and JR Wauford and CO. for engineering services for upcoming projects seeking funding from the American Rescue Plan Act

—approval to proceed with the second phase on an environmental assessment at Meadow Park Lake with Davey Resource Group LLC. The company has purchased BDY Environmental LLC, which was selected for the project earlier in the year

—grant contract for $34,000 from the Tennessee Department of Transportation with a local match of 5%

—solid waste collection bid from Cumberland Waste Disposal, the only bidder, with a base bid of $7.73 per household per month. Estimated cost for the contract is $387,087.48. The city did not approve the additional bid for yard waste pick-ups at $50 per home twice a year. Instead, the city will continue its collection of leaves and yard waste

—replacement of the variable frequency drive at the Little Obed sewer lift station for $11,067.61

—$2,500 donation to support the Crossville Hawks 12-year-old baseball team as they compete in regional baseball play in Glenn Allen, VA, July 12-17

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.