Needing to act before the end of the year, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved the purchase of a new truck that will serve the city’s sewer department.

The decision was made during the board’s final meeting of 2012 on Dec. 17.

Public Works Director Ed Bliss had appeared before the board earlier in December to request the purchase. At that time, he was instructed to do a little more research before the board of aldermen give him permission to spend money before the end of the year for the truck.

“The sewer department currently has three trucks in service,” Bliss said in information provided to the aldermen. “The 1997 Ford currently has 136,151 miles and has been parked due to mechanical issues. The 2001 Chevy has 124,035 miles and does not have the capability to pull the Jetter. The 2008 Ford has 27,926 miles and is in good working order.”

Before the first December meeting, Bliss received seven bids from vehicle dealerships for either a new 2012 or 2013 pickup. Two were for Chevrolet 3500s, two for Ford F250s and three for Ford F350s. Three were gasoline powered while four ran on diesel fuel.

Bliss’ recommended bid at that time was for a 2012 Ford F350 6.7-liter diesel that he said would provide adequate towing capacity for the city’s 12,000- to 14,000-pound Jetter.

The quoted price for the F250 diesel was $30,184 from a local dealership. Of the seven prices, that quote was the second highest.

However, after he conducted more research, the recommended truck was changed to a 2013 Ford F250 6.7-liter diesel that still would have the adequate towing capacity. The listed price was $28,096 but was not from a local dealer.

Bliss said that every truck on his short list came with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty.

Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate asked if local dealerships could match the $28,096 price, adding that he would “like to support local dealers if we can.”

Bliss said he could take that price to local dealers to see what would happen.

A motion then was made and approved to purchase the truck this year with a price not to exceed $28,100.

During the Dec. 3 board meeting, City Administrator Rick Childers reminded board members that during the recent 2013 budget workshops, purchasing two vehicles next year was discussed.

“It was decided to buy one truck in 2012 instead of 2013,” Childers said. “So, we put together a proposal based on a number of vehicles.”

Childers added that there are not sufficient funds in the water and sewer department budget to cover the purchase of a truck, but there was enough in pooled cash to cover the expense.

Fuel Policy

In other business on Dec. 17, the aldermen approved a fuel purchase policy for city employees.

The policy was put on hold on Dec. 3 after a couple of questions were raised about it. Before its passage on Dec. 17, the city did not have a formal fuel purchase policy.

One of the questions raised centered on punishment for violation of the policy. Language was added that states “employees authorized to purchase fuel for city vehicles shall make such purchases in accordance with such credit device as may from time to time be approved by the board of aldermen. Any employee using such credit device for the purchase of fuel for personal use shall be subject to immediate corrective action up to and including immediate termination.”

That language was added at the request of City Attorney Kurt Voss.

The fuel purchase policy will be added to the city’s personnel policy manual.

Before adoption, City Clerk Chris Fawe said the fuel purchasing practice always has been for workers to turn in gasoline receipts to department heads.

Childers said the city’s auditor recommended the city adopt such a policy.

Other Business

In other business from Dec. 17, the aldermen approved a request from the Ozark Highlander Antique Tractor Pullers to conduct events at the St. Clair Regional Airport on June 8 and Aug. 10, 2013.

As far as personnel, Lonnie Messex was recognized for 25 years of service with the city. It also was announced that part-time city hall employee Kim French’s pay has been increased from $11.22 to $13 hourly. When raises for 2013 go into effect, she will earn $13.26 per hour.

“Once again, as we have faced extensive challenges to our operations, Kim has stepped in and provided critical assistance,” Childers said in explaining the reason for the pay hike.

Besides her regular clerking duties, French has been working in the court clerk’s office until an employee can be hired for that position.

Finally, Childers said that Nick Williams was promoted to wastewater system supervisor in October. But, in order to more accurately comply with the city’s agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers, the administration recommends Williams’ position be classified as wastewater superintendent.

The title change was approved with no change in compensation.