Morenci city council tackles variety of issues 2015.08.05

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council members handled a range of business at the July 27 meeting, including fire department, ambulance service and library needs.

Fire chief Brad Lonis told council members that state safety regulations require taking helmets out of service that are 10 years old. Lonis said the safety of his crew is of utmost importance.

Council approved a quote from Apollo Fire Equipment for the purchase of eight helmets at a cost of $1,704. An additional $152 will be spent on helmet graphics from Simi Air in Morenci. The money will be taken from the department's sinking fund.

Lonis said the department will change record-keeping and inventory methods to prevent having an unexpected need such as this return. In the future, he said, the department will be more on top of equipment needs for better budgeting.

The helmet purchase plus the repair of the ladder truck ($16,000) takes the fire department's sinking fund from $38,000 to $21,000.

Council approved a wage increase of 35¢ an hour for EMS personnel Brad Kirkendall, Justin Miller, Donald Gruber, Jeffrey Hibbard, Daniel Sallows, Joshua Nieto, Dale Ost, Dennis Myers, Jeffrey White and Nathan Rutkowski. Increases of 25¢ an hour were approved for RJ Pickell, Farra Ryan, Derek Bode and Robert Sedlacek. EMS employees who were not given an increase will be re-evaluated in six to 12 months to see if additional compensation is warranted.

All of the employees were first subjected to an evaluation process that councilor Brenda Spiess described as very comprehensive.

"I want to commend Director [Chad] Corbin," she said.

City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions said in a committee meeting that Corbin has developed job descriptions, made organizational changes and created the evaluations to "take the department to the next level."

LIBRARY—After several repairs to a library heating and air conditioning unit, council gave Sessions permission to seek sealed bids for the replacement of the south unit. Professional advice, Sessions said, is to replace the unit.

A crane will be needed to remove the old unit and put a new one into place.

The existing unit was put in place when the library was built nearly 18 years ago.

WELL HOUSE—Council voted to accept the bid from Northern Pump and Well to service and make repairs to the city’s #2 well for the cost of $18,422. The attorney said the work falls under professional services and does not require bids. Northern replaced serviced well #1 in 2013.

UNIFORMS—Sessions will make a side-by-side comparison of two bids to furnish uniforms for the DPW employees. A representative of the current company said the contract would expire soon, but it was later learned that a year still exists. Either of the two bids should save money over the current contract, Sessions said.

CREDIT—Council voted to increase the spending limit of the city credit card from $2,000 to $10,000.

"I'm surprised it's so low," Spiess said at the committee meeting. "I think we should have a credit limit of $10,000 since we have controls in place."

The card must be signed in and out by an employee and statements are brought into city hall. Payment authorization must be signed by two employees.

"It gets paid off every month," Spiess said. "It's bad for the credit of the City of Morenci to have it declined."

The card is used by city hall employees and all of the city’s departments. 

401—Changes in the city's 401A plan were made to bring it in accord with the employee handbook.

BRUSH—Audience member Robb Sweet said the brush area behind the city garage is becoming more and more of a mess and he wondered when the large pile would be chipped. Funds were budgeted for the project, Sessions said, and city superintendent Barney Vanderpool is working on lining up a subcontractor to do the work.

DOGS—Police chief Michael Creswell said the county animal control agency has been informed about two Labrador retrievers that have been wandering around the city for at least two weeks. The dogs were reported to be living most recently on the south edge of the city.

ASSETS—CAD drawings of the city's water and wastewater systems have been made by Poggemeyer Design and a few corrections need to be made. Phase II of the asset management plan—evaluating streets and sidewalks—is next.