McMinnville Public Works Department has a new garbage truck after an emergency purchase last week.
Before the $253,613 purchase was made, the department was down to one 2000 model front-end loader for its waste collection, a potential disaster for the city’s service.
“If we lose the truck we have, we have a lot of six-day-a-week customers,” said Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee. “We just cannot allow that to happen knowing it would take us about two weeks to even get a rental truck here.”
Within its current fleet, the city has three trucks – two newer models for everyday use and a 2000 model used as a backup. The two main trucks have both incurred major drivetrain failures within a matter of days.
One is not repairable, but the other is. There is no estimate on when that repair will be complete.
The department has been running two shifts – one by day and one by night – using the backup truck. Hennessee says the situation is critical, because the truck is unreliable.
“We have been collecting both routes with one truck in emergency status mode,” said Hennessee. “That’s where we shift one driver to an overnight route and one driver to the day route out of the same truck. We’ve been doing that since last Thursday. We have been doing that in a 2000 model truck that was thought to be the most vulnerable of the fleet. We are on borrowed time with that truck. We are all holding our breath.”
The city Streets and Sanitation Committee met Tuesday and received a request from Hennessee to allow him to make an emergency purchase of a front-end loader.
“It makes no sense to rent one when we have in our proposed budget for 2018-19 to purchase one,” he said. “I called all the vendors that would be on the bid list to see if any trucks were readily available. Only one truck was. Stringfellow Incorporated in Nashville does have one available for immediate delivery. No other vendor has anything suitable available.”
Stringfellow has a new 2018 Peterbuilt cab and chassis with a 40-yard packer bed, which is the same size as the trucks in the city’s current fleet, at a cost of $253,613. Within the upcoming year’s proposed budget is $270,000. Additional funds within the department’s current 2017-18 fiscal year budget will be used to cover the purchase until the upcoming year’s budget is set.
By city code, an emergency purchase can be made in the interest of public safety and if the Board of Mayor and Aldermen agrees to waive its public notice and agenda policy that prohibits measures of new business from being approved in committee and voted on by the board in the same evening.
“I think public sanitation is certainly a safety issue,” said city attorney Tim Pirtle. “I think it would reside within the judgement and discretion of the board as to whether or not to waive the requirements.”
The committee unanimously approved the emergency purchase request. Later than same evening, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the request to waive procedure and allow the purchase.
Hennessee acted quickly and bought the truck.