Plain City Administrator Kevin Vaughn wants to replace a village-owned bucket truck a council member said he “basically described as a time bomb waiting to go off.”
In a resolution introduced on Monday, May 12, Vaughn requested $266,000 to replace the bucket truck and buy a one-ton dump truck and wood chipper. The money will also replace water meters and the village salt barn.
His request will require an amendment to the 2014 village budget.
Vaughn originally recommended spending the money in a report to council in February. Approval is expected in June.
“Hearing Kevin talk about the bucket truck, the way he described it to us, it’s basically a time bomb waiting to go off with someone inside of it,” said council member Nick Kennedy.
The village’s current bucket truck is a 1983 model that Vaughn described as “way beyond its useful life.” He said the truck would not pass inspection.
“We have some very expired equipment that is beginning to be unsafe for employees to be using,” Vaughn said. “It’s going to give us some exposure to liability if someone gets hurt.”
Vaughn’s recommendations to council include:
• Sell the current bucket truck and a 2005 cargo van, and replace both with a new bucket truck, estimated to cost $70,000.
• Sell the current dump truck and flat bed truck, and replace both with a new dump truck, snow plow and salt spreader, estimated to cost $65,000.
• Replace the current salt barn with a new, hoop-style structure, estimated to cost $50,000. The current salt barn is missing boards and is too small, Vaughn said. It’s also facing the wrong direction, he added.
• Sell the village’s current, smaller wood chipper and purchase a new one, estimated to cost $50,000.
Council member Leslie Perkins raised concerns about the purchases.
“This is just a lot of money,” she said. “We are still living in the cuts that were implemented last year. The police department isn’t back to 2012 staffing, they haven’t had raises, we’re still charging for parades, we cut fireworks — on and on. Then it’s like, and here we are spending $266,000.”
Vaughn said “all but $78,000” of the funding would come from the department’s carryover from last year’s budget, meaning the general fund would not have to foot the whole bill.
“Part of the problem is there has been no capital improvement plan whatsoever,” said Kennedy, referencing council’s plan to save money each year for major purchases.
“If someone gets hurt in this bucket truck, and they know we said in council it’s a time bomb, it’s going to cost us more than $266,000,” he added.
“I’m not saying keep what we have,” Perkins said. “I’m just saying is there a better fiscal way of tackling these projects?”
“I think you’re right,” Kennedy answered. “Setting aside money 10 years ago would have been better. That’s what we’re doing going forward.”
Council will vote on a second reading of the legislation during its next meeting, rescheduled to Tuesday, May 27, at 7 p.m. in council chambers, due to Memorial Day.
In other business:
• Council voted to provide pool passes to all village employees for two years. The pool will open Saturday, May 24.
• The village has hired a new utilities clerk, Regina Temple.
• Repairs are nearly finished at Pastime Park following wind damage from a April 27 storm, Vaughn said. Two utility poles, lights, fencing, a camping pedestal and a roof were damaged. Insurance paid for the repairs, but the village will pay a $1,000 deductible.
• In light of recent larger events at the park, council is considering changing the fee structure for rental charges. No vote was taken on the matter.
• Mayor Sandra Adkins requested a resolution from council supporting her proposal for an audit. Adkins had a received one quote for the audit in the amount of $7,000. Council asked Adkins to seek multiple quotes.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 19 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.