The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 6, 2013

Council to talk capital expenditures

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— Athens City Council members will discuss funding for capital expenditures, including police cars, fire gear, garbage trucks and other items during a meeting Monday.

The public meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the municipal courtroom of the Athens Police Department at 951 E. Hobbs St.

Council members will review a list of about 50 requests from city departments, Mayor Ronnie Marks said. Among the top requests are:

• $156,000 for Police Department for four new patrol cars and, beyond that, two new cars that would run on compressed natural gas;

• $60,000 for Fire Department for turnout gear and other items;

• $58,000 for Parks and Recreation Department for more equipment and money for upgrades;

• $75,000 for Sanitation Department and, beyond that,  $700,000 to lease-purchase garbage trucks and begin a fleet-management system of regularly replacing such vehicles;

• $100,000 for Information Technology Department to put city on a different computer server system and make other improvements;

The mayor told The News Courier the city is trying to take a new approach to replacing big-ticket items like vehicles.

“We are looking at a lease-purchase program to replace vehicles and to get into a fleet- management system for the garbage trucks,” he said. “These are huge, big-ticket items.”

A garbage truck, he said, costs about $300,000.

Marks said the city would try to replace four to six vehicles each year, depending on their mileage and condition, rather than try to replace dozens of worn out vehicles in one year as has been done in the past with garbage and sanitation trucks.

“With where we are with ending the year with some reserve, the money goes in a hurry,” Marks said. “We are trying to provide service to our citizens.”

The council will discuss these requests and could vote on them Monday.

“Right now, there is not a resolution out there to adopt on Monday, but the council may want to go ahead and do that,” Marks said.