The East Ridge City Council gave its approval for the purchase of more than a half million dollars of garbage trucks in an emergency called meeting, Thursday at City Hall.
“We are in dire need. That’s why the special called meeting was held,” said Mayor Brian Williams.
Assistant City Manager Kenny Custer explained that the sanitation fleet has been decimated in recent months.
Custer explained that a 2009 side-loader caught on fire earlier this summer. Another 2009 side-loader that has instruments and a wheel on both sides of the interior, is down due to vexing wiring issues. An engine blew on a 2013 side-loader, and a 2018 side-loader was out of commission with a drive-train problem.
“We’re down to one side-loader and one rear-loader with a flipper broken on one side,” Custer said. “Really we’re down to a truck and a half.”
Custer said that two, tandem-axle side-loaders could be obtained from Stringfellows Inc., the Heil truck representative in the area. One of the trucks is a Mack, the other a Peterbilt. The trucks will cost $550,000. The Mack truck will be in use almost immediately. The Peterbilt will be ready for delivery within 60 days.
Councilman Jacky Cagle had issues with the larger, tandem axle trucks that have a 28-cubic-yard capacity.
“They will not handle the cul de sacs and dead-end streets,” Cagle said. “There will be more wear and tear on the streets.
Custer and City Manager Chris Dorsey explained that in the past, the city has had tandem axle sanitation trucks. In addition, the larger capacity truck will mean fewer trips to the landfill, saving several hours of down-time per shift.
“Ideally, (the tandem axle trucks) will be put on larger routes,” Custer said. “We are trying to figure out the best method to deliver quality service.”
Custer said that in the near future all sanitation routes will be evaluated.
The council had already approved $200,000 for purchase of a sanitation truck in this year’s budget. It was noted that the city will receive $164,000 from its insurance company to replace a sanitation truck that was damaged beyond repair by the fire. About $186,000 will come from the sanitation department’s surplus fund that Finance Director Diane Qualls said now has a balance of $681,000.
Councilman Mike Chauncey made a motion to approve the purchase of the trucks. That motion was seconded by Councilwoman Aundie Witt. The vote was unanimous.
“I’m against the tandem, but I will vote yes because of the immediate need,” Cagle said while casting his vote.
The East Ridge City Council will have its second meeting of the month on Thursday, Aug. 22. The agenda work session begins at 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 6:30.