Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Basehor City Council approves $87,000 for new vehicles, crack-sealer machine

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

May 19, 2011

Special meeting

• The Basehor City Council will have a special meeting at 2 p.m. today at Basehor City Hall to consider a request from city staff to approve an expenditure of $38,000 to pave the parking lot at Basehor City Park.

• The paving would be done by O'Donnell and Sons Construction, which is currently doing other pavement management work for the city.

• The funding would come from the city's Special Park and Recreation Fund, from which $30,000 was budgeted for this year to pave a parking lot at the park.

The Basehor City Council on Monday authorized the city to buy three pieces of equipment for a total of more than $87,000, after several residents raised questions about the purchases earlier in the meeting.

For each of the purchases, though, the council allotted the city slightly less money than staff had requested, citing a desire to keep the cost as low as possible.

The council approved, all on 4-1 votes, the purchases of a crack-sealer for the public works department for $31,700; a new police patrol car, for $37,000; and a pickup truck for use by the city engineer and occasionally by the police department, for $18,500. Council member Iris Dysart opposed each vote.

All of the purchases will be made with money from the city's municipal equipment reserve fund, through which each was previously budgeted. The purchase of the patrol car and pickup truck were originally planned for 2010 but were delayed so that new government purchase program contracts could be completed.

Council members Dennis Mertz and David Breuer said the purchase of the crack-sealer, or “tack cart,” to fill cracks in city streets would allow the city to prevent costly street repairs in the future by performing regular maintenance in advance.

“We're looking to the future rather than just today,” Mertz said.

Resident and former council member Jim Washington spoke earlier in the meeting against the purchase, saying it was an unnecessary expense and that the city could save money by doing crack-sealing work with a rental machine or by using a contractor.

“The fact that an item is in a budget doesn't demand that it be spent,” Washington said.

Dysart said she agreed that the cost was excessive for a piece of equipment that would be used only occasionally.

In a report submitted to the council, city superintendent Gene Myracle said that it would likely take city staff about 21 weeks to complete work on streets that are already in need of sealing, and the cost to rent a tack cart would be $1,400 per week of $4,200 per month. In addition, he said, renting the machine would require city street crews to devote themselves to sealing cracks full-time for the rental period, neglecting other duties, and the city would need to rent again when more needs arose.

Myracle’s report said the lowest bid the city received for a tack cart was about $34,200, but Mertz motioned to allow an expenditure of just $31,700, suggesting that city staff negotiate for a lower price.

Mertz also pushed for lower expenditures than requested on the new patrol car — $37,000 rather than $40,000 — and the pickup for the city engineer — $18,500 rather than $20,000. He said the lowered expenditures were in response to several residents who, earlier in the meeting, asked if the city could cut back on the cost of the requested equipment.

The new patrol car gives the police department a total of six on patrol, which will allow for less wear and tear on the fleet because it would allow vehicles to rest during some shifts rather than being used continuously, according to a report from police chief Lloyd Martley.

The new pickup truck will be used by city engineer Mitch Pleak for surveying, inspection and other duties, though police officers will use it when snow is on the ground during winter, rendering the department's front-wheel-drive vehicles ineffective.

Also during the meeting, the council:

• Approved, 3-2, a contract with NetStandard as the city's new information technology provider, switching from the current provider, Versent. Dysart and Fred Box voted no, saying the council had not been given enough information about problems Loughry said the city had experienced with Versent.

• Approved, 5-0, special-use permits that allowed the organizers of the Basehor Farmer's Market and the Basehor Dairy Days festival to display temporary signs around the city. Council members also instructed staff to create a measure that will allow vendors at those two events not to pay a business-license fee to the city.

• Re-appointed, 5-0, a number of city officials for the next fiscal year, including city administrator Mark Loughry, city clerk Corey Swisher, Myracle, Martley and Pleak.

• Approved, 5-0, ordinance No. 590, which regulates solicitors and peddlers.

• Renewed, 5-0, agreements with the disability, health, vision and dental insurance providers for city employees.

• Denied, 5-0, an appeal by resident Jeral Cooper and Mutual Savings Association challenging a weed ordinance violation.

• Approved, 5-0, the annexation of three lots in the Cedar Falls subdivision, after a public hearing on the subject during which no residents spoke.

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