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Monday, Mar. 2, 2015

Emergency purchases cost McCook more than $69,000

Friday, September 28, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider confirming what city staff has labeled as an "emergency purchase" of two 2006 Freightliner semi trucks. The vehicles were purchased by city staff on Sept. 19 at a cost of $34,900 each, due to a build up of trash in late August and early September that placed the city transfer station "one unexpected load away from having a shutdown."

According to Monday's McCook City Council meeting agenda, the contracted city trash hauler, Fritz Trucking, has had issues with having more than one trailer available to haul city trash from the transfer station, leading to the trash buildup and near shutdown.

The shutdown would have ceased trash dumping at the McCook facility for an unspecified period of time, causing a back-log of trash and adding additional expense and inconvenience to the citizens, commercial haulers and city staff, according to the meeting agenda.

The purchase of the semi trucks, funded via Landfill Reserve Funds, will be combined with rental trailers to serve as a back up plan when Fritz Trucking has limited trailers available.

Councilors will merely confirm the purchase, as it was not approved by councilors prior to being carried out, and will also consider a request from Fritz Trucking to amend their contracted rate to a higher amount.

According to the meeting agenda, owner Steve Fritz has requested his trash hauling contract with the City of McCook be amended from a per ton rate of $13.50 to $16.50 per ton. The increase is estimated to amount to an annual increase to the city of $42,000.

Also during Monday's meeting, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, councilors will receive and file a claim for damages from Larry and Karen Siebrandt. According to the claim, the Siebrandt's home at 408 East 14th Street was damaged by a backup from the city sewer system on Sept. 21, 2012.

The claim cites damage to the house's furnace room, bathroom, workshop, family room and stairway and does not provide an estimated dollar amount for the repairs.

Councilors will consider an appeal request from Larson Group, LLC to reverse a denial from City Manager Jeff Hancock for a lot split at 1604 West J Street.

Hancock also serves as the city Zoning Administrator and denied the request because it would not meet zoning and ordinance requirements. The applicant stated in their request for an appeal that they hoped the council would want to be progressive in encouraging cooperation with potential commercial developments.

The city council has the authority to affirm or reverse Hancock's decision.

Other items on the consent and regular agenda:

A resolution increasing ambulance service rates will be considered for approval. According to the meeting agenda the rate increases are needed to keep federal reimbursement rates at their maximum level and will assist with the purchase of three new cardiac monitor and defibrillator devices that were approved in the 2012-13 budget. Bid specifications for the devices will also be considered for approval.

Councilors will consider approval of the McCook Police Department's submitted list of abandoned and unclaimed vehicles and property, that will subsequently be disposed of via the annual auction. The list includes nine vehicles, 17 bicycles and other items.

McCook National Bank has requested to close the alley between Norris Avenue and West First Street, from West B to West C, 3 p.m. to midnight, on Oct. 27, 2012. The closure is for their annual "Halloween Haunted Bank Tour."

The McCook Rotary Club has requested to utilize city streets and the walking trail for a 5k race on Oct. 27, 2012.

Amfirst Bank has requested to utilize parts of Kelley Park, the walking trail and the former Borken Tee Golf Course for a 5k road race on Oct. 20, 2012.

* The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce has requested a special liquor license for a mixer at Wagner Chevrolet on Oct. 10, 2012.

Century Link has requested to use city right-of-way for the installation of an underground fiber optic cable along West D Street.

City staff discovered that the section pertaining to the Tree Advisory Board was omitted from the City of McCook Code of Ordinances book during recent updates. Councilors will consider an ordinance providing for the creation of the board.

Councilors will consider approving proclamations designating October 2012 as "Domestic Violence Awareness Month" and Oct. 7-13 as "Fire Prevention Week."


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Service that was questionable to say the least. A possible $3.00 per ton raise ???

-- Posted by radar59 on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 7:27 PM

He underbid the contract forcing the previous reliable contractor out. That's his fault. There is no way the city should approve an increase. His workers don't show up to work, he has junk equipment that doesn't operate, and he won't haul unless he has a completely full load. He is not upholding his end of the contract.

Let me get this straight, the city bought two semis for backup? Who are you trying to kid? They are working at getting out of the contract, which I fully support.

-- Posted by blueCollarWorker on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 3:14 PM

Have you checked the price of keeping that equipment operating? Tires? They have all gone up considerably since the contract was put into place. Tires are a big expense when hauling to the landfill because they get ruined quite easily up there.

Mr. Fritz has to maintain a certain dollar per mile in order to stay in business. If the load doesn't weigh enough to make that dollar amount then he loses money. If he is losing money, how do you expect him to be able to update the equipment and keep it running properly?

The city has purchased trucks but do they have their own trailers to haul the trash? The trailers used for hauling the trash are specialized with thicker walls to be able to handle the building materials that are being hauled. They don't come at a cheap price and are high maintenance.

Increased prices are a chain reaction from supplier to service. Didn't the city just impose a water rate increase?

-- Posted by swnefarmer on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 3:36 PM

This is the risk with bidding contracts and bidding it on the low end. He's the one that undercut everyone. It wouldn't be fair to the people who bid the contract, who were keen enough to take these things into consideration, to simply increase the contracted amount with Fritz. You just can't do that. That would be like me going in there and bidding it at $1, finding out what it really takes to operate, and asking for an increase with margin to be added to the contract. It's not the city's fault he didn't bid it correctly.

Plus, even when his equipment was running, he had workers calling in. The city also needs to take things like this into consideration when awarding contracts and look at the ability of the contractor to stay afloat. Lesson learned I hope.

-- Posted by blueCollarWorker on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 5:25 PM

Go back and look at the contract that was in place between Mr. Fritz's contracts. The city did give the other contractor an increase in the middle of his contract when he found out that he couldn't survive without a fuel surcharge.

-- Posted by swnefarmer on Sat, Oct 6, 2012, at 9:51 AM

Why should the ratepayers pay more if the hauler was already not meeting the requirements of the current contract?

-- Posted by dennis on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 9:38 AM

Who do you think is going to pay the $69,000 for the trucks and the $4,000 per month for the trailer rental? The taxpayers.

-- Posted by swnefarmer on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 10:56 AM

What I think is that if the city did not have a plan B in place and the current hauler continued to not meet the contract requirements so the trash backed-up and taxpayers had no place to put their trash, the ratepayers would really have a right to be unhappy.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 2:42 PM


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