Obion approves service contracts

Obion approves service contracts

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 9:03 pm

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A mixed bag of city business was handled Monday night by the Obion City Council.
Monday night’s agenda featured a full lineup of bids for city services as well as several other items involving city management issues.
The council renewed the city’s contract with Barker Brothers to provide weekly residential trash pick up and monthly bulk pick up. The city’s contract with Joe Enoch & Associates of Dyersburg for auditing services was renewed and a $6,400 contract with Hood Plumbing was approved for the installation of a ditch grinder that will be installed off Eighth Street.
The council’s contract with Hood Plumbing ends months of frustration over getting the grinder installed to deal with flooding in the Eighth Street area. The council has been focused on getting one of its two grinders installed in the ditch, but the project has encountered numerous delays.
The council agreed to have Hood Plumbing install one of the city’s grinders, and the spare grinder will be returned for a refund.
Approval was granted Monday night to a $1,790 bid from HLL Fencing of Union City to install a security fence around the communications tower at the city’s new public safety building. The bid from HLL Fencing was the highest of three bids submitted, but was the only local bid. The bid will have to be submitted to and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture since the purchase will involve USDA grant funds, according to city recorder Jana Fluty.
The council also approved buying $217.73 in plumbing supplied from Home Builders Mart. The plumbing supplied will be used at the public safety building. The council will also rely on Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans to buy a new carbon monoxide detector for the public safety building.
A pair of bids for health care insurance for city employees — one from Union City Insurance and a second from Gary J. White of Whiteville — was tabled for further review.
Monday night’s meeting lasted nearly an hour and 45 minutes as council members struggled to deal with all the bids as well as several controversial items on the agenda.
The council briefly discussed the need for three new bullet proof vests for the police department, but the discussion was cut short when council member Mike Miller announced the Obion Grain Co. would purchase the new vests and donate them to the city.
There was also a lively discussion of the city’s eight cell phones and the monthly cell phone bill of between $500 and $600. The issue was originally brought up during a recent budget hearing.
“It’s not personal … we’ve just got to make some cuts somewhere,” council member Renee Webber said,
The city’s eight cell phones are being used by the public works department (five phones), the police department (two phones) and the mayor has one cell phone.
It was proposed eliminating some of the cell phones as a way to cut the city’s monthly cell phone bill, but the focus of the discussion was on the public works department’s five cell phones.
“Our communications system is vital,” Public Works Director Chuck Steffen told the council as he defended his department’s cell phones.
The discussion continued for several minutes, but eventually faded with no decision from the council.
Immediately following the cell phone debate, the council moved on to another controversial issue — city employee evaluations. Evaluations of workers at City Hall and with the police department went smoothly, but once again a conflict between Mayor Glen Parnell and Steffen emerged during evaluations of workers in the public works department.
“It didn’t go so well,” council member James Depriest said about the employee evaluations for the public works department.
He did say the evaluations were done in an “orderly” fashion.
“It was more civil than the last time,” Steffen told the council, referring to his evaluation done several months ago.
The council discussed the conflict for several minutes before Miller recommended tabling the issue. His recommendation came as the council’s lengthy agenda was obviously taking its toll on council members.
As the meeting came to a close, City Building Inspector Royce Aker reported the owner of the Mom’s restaurant in Newbern is planning to set up a permanent concession trailer in the city park. He said plans are for the facility to be open six days a week and meals and drinks would be served from the trailer.
In other action Monday night, the council:
• Approved cashing in a $50,000 CD to help pay for a final gas bill from Atmos Energy. The bill is expected to be about $55,000.
• Voted to enforce an illegal dumping ordinance that would involve a $50 fine for property owners in violation of leaving large items such as refrigerators, couches and mattresses on the roadside for pick up. The ordinance would provide violators a 48-hour period to remove large items before they’re cited to court.
• Took no action on dealing with the former city hall building, which was destroyed by storms in early April. The building has been condemned and the city is awaiting a settlement from its insurance company.
A representative of D&J’s Lounge in Obion attended Monday night’s meeting and expressed interest in salvaging some of the materials from the city hall building to be used to renovate the downtown bar.
• Was informed of a water leak at the former Obion Manufacturing plant, and agreed to have the mayor deal with the leak. Also, Parnell will look into getting the plant site mowed.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer by Depriest and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Parnell.
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Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.17.11

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