Friday, April 08, 2011

TOP STORY > >Council spends money on trash

Leader staff writer

It took the Jacksonville City Council about 20 minutes Thursday night to spend more than $1.3 million.

The council approved purchasing an automated garbage- collection system for slightly more than $1 million and two new ambulances at about $150,000 each.

The council voted to spend $1.3 million with RiverCity Freightliner to purchase a complete, automated garbage-collection system.

The system includes three garbage trucks at a total cost of about $600,000; two knuckle-boom or trash trucks at a total cost of about $244,220; 8,800 96-gallon trash containers at a total cost near $444,000, and 200 48-gallon trash containers at a cost of about $9,000.

The containers should be in by the middle of May and the trucks about a month later.

RiverCity was not the low bidder. The council rejected two lower bids, Otto Environmental at $402,884 as the price did not include the trucks, and RiverCity Mack at $1.2 million because it did not meet the specifications.

The city will get a short term, 60-month loan to pay for the new system. The loan will be paid out of the recently approved increase in the city’s garbage rates. Rates, for most residents, went from $11 to $14.50 a month.

The council voted to spend $305,495 with Excellance Inc. to purchase two new ambulances even though the company was not the low bidder. The low bidder, Phoenix Group, at $277,530, did not meet all the specifications or requirements.

One of the ambulances will replace a 1997 model and the other will take over duties from a 2003 model. The 2003 ambulance will be placed in reserve in case of extreme emergencies or problems with the two new ambulances or the department’s 2008 model. Right now the department has no ambulance in reserve.

In other council business:

 The council voted to take a little more than an acre of land adjacent Graham Road through its eminent-domain powers. The land, actually three small lots owned by two different families, is needed to complete the planned widening of Graham Road. The widening project, partially funded with federal money through Metroplan, is expected to cost close to $6 million.

The city doesn’t get to just take the three parcels. The issue will go to court to determine a fair price for the former owners. But the taking of the land prevents, according to the resolution the aldermen passed, “possible loss of federal funding” and allows the project to proceed without a delay.

Two of the lots are owned by Walter and Dana Nixon and the other is owned by the Harry K. Dougherty Estate.

n Jim Oakley, the city’s public-works director, in his monthly report, said the animal shelter took in 118 dogs and 58 cats during March.

The shelter was able to return 31 dogs and three cats to their owners and adopt out another 55 dogs and 17 cats. Shelter officials had to euthanize 34 dogs and 17 cats because of illness, injury or space requirements.

There was one bite case reported. An owner was bitten on the forearm by her Lab mix as she tried to put the dog into the car. The dog was quarantined for 10 days as a safety precaution.

 In his monthly report, City Engineer Jay Whisker said his department issued 24 building permits and nine business licenses in March. The department performed 189 inspections and issued 30 letters to homeowners or businesses for unkempt or unsanitary conditions or structural problems.

 The council passed a resolution honoring Jacksonville High School basketball boach Victor Joyner and his squad of players for their outstanding performance this season. The council had invited the coach but he was working track and field practice and was unable to attend.