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Armstrong council deadlocked on garbage truck bid

April 1, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Amid flak on costs, the Armstrong City Council, minus one member, was deadlocked at its meeting Monday on a decision to buy a garbage truck.

With Adrian Hagebock gone from the meeting, it was Dave Grussing and Don Leach voting to accept the $170,422.75 bid for a garbage truck with compactor and containers from Elliott Equipment of Grimes. Voting against were Jon Larsen, who has consistently questioned the city's buying the truck, and Warren Haeckel, who suggested that the city look at buying a used truck instead.

Rhett Hiney was first to voice concern about the purchase - as he had done at previous meetings. Hiney said the city's estimate for maintenance was ballparked too low and he also asked what the city would do in the event of a breakdown.

Mayor Marv Dailey assured Hiney that most businesses in town had said they would go with the city and that another truck would be available from the dealer if it were needed.

"We always wish we had something that would bring in some revenue," Dailey said.

Hiney reminded the council of 80 signatures he had presented earlier, questioning the city's plans to purchase the truck.

Keith Lange also questioned the city's estimated revenue from hauling garbage, adding that 10 out of 15 area communities that he had surveyed did not haul their own solid waste. Lange also disputed the city's estimated $224.86 monthly profit, saying it would instead lose $240. And he asked how the city would haul garbage if the truck were out of service for any length of time. He also asked if the city were willing to pay a new employee a $52,000 salary.

Dailey said he had already addressed the question about any breakdown and city clerk Connie Thackery said, "It doesn't come to $52,000" for the driver's salary.

"We've worked for a year and a half at this," Dailey said. "We didn't take it lightly. We're going to make some pretty good money if we do it over a 10-year period."

"You really need to bring this to a public vote because you'll find that the people don't want it," said Lange.

"We did the best that we knew how," Dailey said.

When Wayne Moeller asked what would happen if the driver quit, Thackery said maintenance supervisor Tom Leach would take over.

Lange then asked what would happen in the event of a blizzard, with Moeller noting the city would get phone calls if garbage were out for 48 hours.

Grussing said the city already had provisions for police chief Craig Merrill to fill in for Leach when he was on Marine reserve duty.

When time came to make a decision, Haeckel asked if the city had checked into a reconditioned truck and Dailey said the savings would only be $8,000. Dailey also pointed out that the city would pay higher interest on a used truck.

Grussing moved that the council accept the Elliott Equipment bid, with he and Leach voting in favor and Haeckel and Larsen opposed.

Dailey suggested the council try to make a decision again when all five members were present.



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