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After confusion, Obion officials vote to restart bidding process

After confusion, Obion officials vote to restart bidding process
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Confusion over a series of bids dealing with Obion’s Public Safety Building prompted the Obion city council to table all bids Monday night and restart the process.
The council tabled bids for the installation of an air conditioning unit, electrical work, office furniture and a new awning.
It all began with confusion over bids for the installation of an air conditioning unit.
“It doesn’t sound like they’re all bidding on the same thing,” council member Gracie Ashley said.
The bids ranged from $2,838 to $4,300 for a five-ton unit, but specific details about the installation work concerned members of the council enough so that they decided against accepting any of the bids.
Then came bids for electrical work on the Public Safety Building.
“They’re not bidding on the same thing either,” Mayor Rodney Underwood announced after reviewing two bids.
The council decided to table all the bids and restart the bid process. New bids are expected to be considered at the council’s February meeting or possibly at a called meeting before then.
The council did receive some good news from Underwood at its hour-long meeting. He said the city is saving about $14,000 a year through a series of cost-cutting measures. He didn’t provide any specific details about how the savings are being achieved, but he did say he and other city officials have been working on implementing the cost-saving steps over the past few weeks.
Underwood also made the cryptic statement, “The budget is going to go plum crazy this year,” during Monday night’s meeting.
At the meeting, the council did take care of disposing of some city property, bought a new truck for the Obion Public Works Department, agreed to purchase a new computer meter reading system for the public works department and approved spending $69,934 a year for a new insurance policy for the city from Terry Insurance Agency.
The insurance policy will cover general liability, property and crime, and workers’ compensation for 2013.
The council accepted a $638 bid from Candedice Smith of Obion for a Ford Explorer seized by the Obion Police Department, and then approved a $17,426 bid from Union City Ford for a new Ford pickup truck that will be used by the public works department. The council also gave Underwood the authority to purchase a new handheld meter reading system for the department.
Under the category of disposing of city property, the council will solicit bids for two city lots — one on Third Street and the former city hall lot at the corner of Seventh and Main streets. Bids will also be sought for three aging city trucks, including one firetruck.
In other action, the council:
• Delayed action on the hiring of a new police officer. The city only received one application and Underwood said, “A few things came up today we need to look into.”
• Approved a recommendation from the mayor to draft a new ordinance dealing with culverts around town. Under the proposed ordinance, the city would remove deteriorating culverts and then it would be the responsibility of the property owner to pay to have the culverts replaced.
“It’s got to be addressed,” Underwood said about the problem of deteriorating culverts around town.
He said there are four or five culverts on Watson Avenue that need to be replaced. He described Watson Avenue as a “hot spot.”
The ordinance would allow property owners to buy the culverts at cost from the city and then pay for the culverts over a period of six month to a year on their utility bills.
There was a question about whether any grants are available to help defray the costs for the culverts, but Underwood replied, “I have yet to see one anywhere.”
• Approved a proposal from council member Bob Anderson to buy and install “No jake brakes” signs to be posted along Highway 183 and Palestine Avenue inside the city limits. Similar signs are posted in Woodland Mills and Anderson said he would pay for Obion’s signs.
• Was informed work is under way on installing an antenna system on the city’s Sanders Road water tower. A new antenna  is being added that will serve the Obion Volunteer Fire Department.
• Approved a plan recommended by the mayor to issue letters to city residents who have multiple trash cans. The letters will request residents consolidate their trash cans or pay for the extra receptacles. Underwood estimated there are some 25 residents around town using multiple trash cans, at a cost of $18 per can.
• Approved a request from Underwood to acquire a new debit card for the city, with a spending limit of $500.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer led by council member James Depriest and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Underwood.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.13

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