Purdy aldermen heard a proposal to privatize the city's public works operation and consider a different vendor for trash service at the Purdy City Council's May meeting. Though no votes were taken, council members appeared to lean toward making no changes.
The proposal came from Ron Gray, former alderman and public works superintendent. Gray asserted that his company, 3 Way Construction, could provide the same public works services as the city gets from its own employees for about two-thirds of the current cost.
"As you improve the city appearance, I believe you would raise property values and raise the quality of citizens in the community," Gray said.
Gray spoke about on the appearance of the park and other city properties, such as mowing right of ways, clearing trash on city property and fixing sidewalks. Upgrades in the city's infrastructure as well as maintaining the street, water and sewer system could be done by his four employees, who would be on call at all hours.
Gray said his company planned to buy a trash truck and offer bids in every community where Stanphill Sanitation, the city's current carrier, has contracts. Trash service in Purdy has not been put out for general bids in years, and Gray urged taking a fresh look at the situation.
According to Gray, Purdy received the first proposal as his hometown, where he felt establishing a presence was important before approaching other potential customers. The 3 Way Construction trash bid offered a flat 10 percent reduction in the charges made by Stanphill.
Aldermen expressed doubts about whether Gray's proposed savings could be met. Gray further asserted that with his help, the city could save enough money to drop its property tax, thus opening the doors to expanding the city limits.
Alderman Wayne Rupp said many people simply did not want to live in the city with its rules and would be unswayed by the tax change. Alderman Ken Real said he felt a supervisor would have to be hired to oversee Gray and company, a cost likely to eat up any potential savings.
Gray asked the council to consider his proposal and give a response at the June meeting. Aldermen subsequently discussed the idea of privatizing public works, noting dissatisfaction in other towns over the practice.
"It boils down to profit margin versus service," said Alderman Steve Roden.
"There are a lot of reasons [not to change] that don't have to do with money," said Mayor Ron Dutra. He said it had taken many years to get reliable city employees who know the city system and established a track record in running it. Doubts were also expressed about whether Gray's firm could hold its prices over time, especially if gasoline prices jumped again.
Praise for Teddy McIntire, public works superintendent, was given during McIntire's report for receipt of an award for outstanding service from the annual Water and Wastewater Conference in Monett. Alderman Real said the city has "the best water system in the area," with 90 percent of the water pumped reaching meters.
Aldermen agreed to hire Logan Terry, a graduating high school senior, to mow city property at minimum wage for the summer. Terry had been recommended by High School Principal Bob Vice and has his own mowing service. Hiring Terry would free up the public works staff for other projects, Mayor Dutra said.
Police Officer Michael Moore had quite on May 4 to take a position with the Granby Police Department. Police Chief Jackie Lowe said Officer Moore had not returned some equipment or finished a report on a pending case. The city of Granby had offered to pay for the equipment, Lowe said.
Terry Meek, who works full-time for the Barry County Sheriff's Department, had agreed to work part-time five days a week to fill in for Moore's absence, Lowe said.
Aldermen were interested in steps taken to improve security at the Community Building. About $1,800 had been received to date from insurance for doors and locks. McIntire reported new exterior doors had been put in place, and new interior doors had not yet been hung. Chief Lowe said he had interviewed two subjects on the break-in into the building and was still seeking additional information.
Clerk Debbie Redshaw reported the EFCO Flat Tire Gang had scheduled to use the Community Building as a rest stop for a planned bikeathon on June 20.
Chief Lowe reported a number of letters sent out as nuisance violations had prompted several property owners to mow.
On three different occasions, a cow owned by Onesimo Ibarra had gotten loose on Howell Drive and gotten into the city. Lowe and David Gatewood from the public works department had repaired the fence. Ibarra got a citation to appear before Municipal Judge Andrew Hagar. Responding to the judge's promise of jail time if the cow got out again, Ibarra removed his cows from the city, Lowe said.
Eight vehicle break-ins on April 23 were still being investigated. Lowe said all the cars in question were unlocked. Two handguns were taken from a car on Brite Circle and were still being sought.
Next month's council meeting was moved to June 15 at 5:30 p.m. to avoid a scheduling conflict.