At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Piedmont City Council, Mayor Bill Baker updated the council on the status of problem-ridden city garbage truck. The truck, which was purchased in 2010 for $220,000, was continuously breaking down, greatly costing the city time and money.
Only after threatening the truck’s manufacturer with legal action did city officials learn that the truck’s issues may simply be a result of a type of fuel contamination, which the company recommends treating with a fuel cleaning treatment. Baker said that after receiving the treatment, the truck seems to be working fine. He added that the city is still looking to sell the truck later this year.
Piedmont Fire Chief Mike Ledbetter informed the council that after acquiring the needed breathing apparatuses, the department is now ready to purchase turn-out gear. The $28,000 purchase will be paid out of the city fire tax, and then reimbursed through the FEMA grant awarded to the department last year. Additionally, Ledbetter said that he will now begin submitting bids for a new thermal imager.
Council Member Brenda Spears made a motion to disallow Piedmont police officers, who live outside the city limits, to drive their patrol cars home. After some debate, the motion died on the vine. Spears then made a similar motion concerning other city departments. This motion also failed with Spears as the lone “Yes” vote.
The council agreed to seek bids for several items, only to consider the bids, in order to make informed decisions. They will seek bids to contract garbage pick-up, which was opposed by Council Member Cobb; to contract the grass cutting of Highland Cemetery; and to contract the management of concessions at the aquatics center after receiving interest from a local restaurant.
A 2009 decision to increase health insurance costs by $5 per person per month for all city employees and retirees was formalized. Council Member Terry Kiser abstained from the vote.
Also, the council unanimously agreed to officially opt out of the Calhoun-Cleburne Mental Health Board after not appointing a representative or paying dues to the board for several years now.
Mayor Baker reappointed Patty Glover to serve another 5 year term on the Housing Authority Board.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $442,952.58 in addition to a payroll amount of $108,571.71 for a total of $551,524.29, with Council Members Cobb and Spears abstaining. Also, as of February 28th, there was a total balance of $1,483,661.86 remaining in bond accounts.
The council also voted to declare a residence within the city as a public nuisance as the next step toward abatement of the property.
The next regular Piedmont City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7th, at 6 pm.