October 10, 2002

Light Plant Workforce Continues To Be Hot Topic For City Council

The City Light Plant continued to be a topic of discussion for the Memphis City Council. Months after voting to officially implement the plant's automated system to eliminate the facility's third shift, the controversial decision is still being debated.

The debate started when the council approved the dis-continuation of the plants third shift. The facility was turned over to the automated system implemented a few years earlier. The computerized procedure not only runs the plant but provides a security system.

At the October 3 council meeting Superintendent Mike Ahland asked the council to consider going one step further, closing the second shift, which mans the plant from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Alderman Patty Simerl, who voted against ending 24-hour coverage by personnel staffed at the site, questioned the proposal. She asked if the move would result in layoffs by the department.

Ahland responded the move would not create any immediate loss of jobs as there was work to be done inside the plant at this time. He also noted that the line crew had been training some of the light plant employees to work with that department.

Alderman Ron Gardner, who also voted against ending the third shift, told Ahland and the council that if the workload at the plant was reduced further by ending another shift that he felt there should be a reduction in the workforce.

The council discussed the issue briefly before agreeing to table further talk on the subject until the November meeting. The issue likely will be moved to executive session due to the fact it involves discussion of personnel.

Street Work

Superintendent Roy Monroe submitted a bid from Willis Bros. of Macon to seal six streets. The bid quoted a price of $22,051.85 to furnish and apply oil on six city streets in Memphis. The oil would be billed at a rate of $2.55 per gallon, with approximately 8,700 gallons being used.

Monroe recommended the council refuse the bid. He suggested the street department do the work sealing the streets with city equipment. He indicated his plan was to start the process next year, as the city was still in the process of acquiring the necessary equipment.

The department has received a new oil distributor purchased from MoDOT. Monroe said a trailer to store the oil could be borrowed or rented.

The only other piece of equipment needed was a tailgate spreader. Monroe submitted two bids for the spreader. Tri-State Equipment of Palmyra had a bid of $4,570 for the piece of equipment while Flink Snow Plows and Spreaders of Steator, IL, quoted the piece at a cost of $2,748. The council voted to purchase the spreader from the low bidder by a vote of 4-0.

The council also authorized Monroe to offer the old oil distributor and a 1,500 gallon tank for sale.

Light Plant Warehouse

Superintendent Dave Kittle informed the council the line crew was ready to begin re-roofing the light plant warehouse. He had received bids from Hopkins Lumber, Clifford Martin and Memphis Lumber regarding the job. The bids will be reviewed by the council and the lowest price will receive the contract if the listed items are comparable.

Water Department

The water department completed repairs on the settling basin and the lift station during September. Superintendent Dennis Howard also reported attending the Missouri Water and Wastewater Conference in Jefferson City.

Aldermen's Reports

Alderman Mike Stone repeated a complaint he had received from a citizen regarding a dog running loose in town. The council recommended that Stone have the citizen file a complaint with the police department so that action could be taken by the dog catcher. Stone also voiced several complaints regarding properties that had not been mowed.

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