Fountain City Clerk Mary Tjepkes swore in three new council members at the January 4 meeting. Included were Mayor Tammy Danielson and Councilors Cory Sprattle and Jordan Kerns. Councilors continuing their terms are Dave Gudmundson and Colleen Foehrenbacher.
After approving the monthly bills and financials, Public Works Director John Hanson requested the council approve the purchase of new skid loader tires. “The ones we have now… they’re smooth,” he said.
No funds for replacement tires included in any equipment or departmental needs when the council approved the budget. “The problem is when we set the budget in August, there was enough tread on the tire,” pointed out Tjepkes. City staff will meet with auditors February 1.
“I am asking to have them see if there’s extra out there to get these tires,” she added. The city may be able to pull money from an upcoming project, such as the water tower cleaning and updating, but Tjepkes was hesitant because those projects are priorities. “But, if it comes down to it…”
“We don’t want to take from one account and put in another account,” cautioned Gudmundson.
Foehrenbacher asked if there was a specific fund for equipment. Danielson questioned if there was a ‘“slush fund” for these instances.
The city has a fund for large equipment only and an emergency fund. But, with the year just starting, Tjepkes wants to discuss the matter with the auditors first. However, waiting may create more considerable and expensive problems if the tires go completely especially during these winter months.
“Can we get by for another month? Is it a safety concern?” asked Foehrenbacher.
“They’re bad,” said Hanson and Kerns in unison. “We’ve gotten a lot of snow. We’re just after the first of the year,” added Kerns. “If we have a flat, it’s gonna cost more. That’s what it comes down to.”
Danielson offered to stay after the meeting and look over the finances with Tjepkes. “How do we requisition funds if we need them?”
There was some added concern over waiting three weeks to talk with the auditor and the next council meeting, plus any timeline to get the funds in hand. However, according to Tjepkes, the funds are easily accessible.
Bauer Built, in Preston, provided a low and high quote based on different tires. Brown’s Tire & Battery, in Rushford, provided one quote similar to the higher Bauer Built quote. All three quotes ranged in price from $1,756 to $2,418. Both companies offered the Galaxy Mighty Trac tires, notably preferred by Hansons, Kerns, and Gudmundson purely on the depth of the tire.
Public Works uses the skid loader on paved surfaces 95% of the time, which wears on the tires heavily. The skid loader, purchased in the spring of 2019, is just wearing through its first set of tires with only 400 hours on the machine.
“It should last a few more years than that,” noted Gudmundson.
“Under 1,000 hours is really low,” added Kerns.
The council ultimately voted unanimously to approve the middle bid from Bauer Built for mounting of new, plus disposal of the old tires. The cost rings in at $2,116. Hanson noted at least a week is needed to schedule getting the skid loader in. The work will be invoiced, hopefully buying the council time to discuss the matter with the auditor.
“We can switch around some out of the General Fund into the Equipment Fund. I can move some money around,” said Tjepkes.
There was no other council action. The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, February 1, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.