“The money that we're spending for repairs could be used for purchasing two trucks that we need,” commented councilman Larry Brown during a special city council session on July 18.
Despite a presentation by Scruggs Equipment Co. and lengthy discussions concerning the now plaguing issue of the city's garbage trucks, the city may have to wait a little while longer for some a resolution.
“We've been in a precarious situation from a commercial stand point that when that truck went down we didn't have a back up, which forced us to have use a rental and that is never good,” commented councilman Jay Hollowell.
“I stated to the council and to the citizens of Helena-West Helena in the last council session that the next time the truck breaks down, I'm not going to take any action on it,” stated Mayor Arnell Willis. “We've been playing around with a loaded gun and these people are getting angrier by the day. We need to move on this issue.”
“Your units are basically worn out. The life expectancy for these units for any municipality is 5 to 6 years, which at this time you have exceeded,” reported Ernie Carson, general and sales manager for Scruggs.
According to Carson the city bought their current units in 2005 and 2006 and the city has found itself at a point where they are putting expenditure after expenditure into a truck that that should be totaled.
Scruggs parked an example of what is called a side loader unit in front of the municipal building to give the council an idea of what type of equipment could be leased.
“The front loader can be leased with a full 2-year warranty that guarantees a maintenance package and quarterly inspections to make sure that the equipment is running and operating smoothly and efficiently,” stated Carson.
Ultimately the warranty would save the city maintenance cost, Carson added.
“We have service vehicles that are sent out to our customers to ensure quality maintenance and we provide the training to each sanitation employee that will be driving these units at no extra charge,” continued Carson.
Carson said the city is interested in buying a new 40-yard front loader and a demo side loader for an estimated payment of $8,580.61 a month for both units for five years. According to Carson, the sanitation department was able to cut the route by two hours using the demo that was provided the previous week.
“You don't have to make a down payment or a deposit, just the first month installment,” added Carson.
Councilman John Huff asked whether or not proper procedure was followed in providing the body with specs and the local newspaper with a bidding ad.
“Are we going to be able to pay for it?” asked council member Larry Brown.
Page 2 of 2 - City Clerk Sandi Ramsey reported that the sanitation department is currently paying about $4,000 a month on repairs and overtime.
“We'll have to prepare an ordinance to waive the proper bidding if the council decides to go with Scruggs,” added Ramsey.
Ramsey explained that the city has almost exhausted its financing options, two of which has declined business with the city.
“We have experience with Scruggs, they have always been good to us and we've never had a complaint with their service,” concluded Ramsey.
Councilman Don Etherly stated that he wasn't ready to vote, requesting documentation for the current truck repairs.
“I have made a small request for this documentation for a couple of months now and we are yet to see the proof of repairs,” he said.
The council motioned that the sanitation department head provide the proper specs and bids be advertised for a 30-day period minimum for a front load unit. The motion passed with a seven approvals.
Currently the sanitation department has three trucks operating.