LaFollette City Council approves big equipment purchases for public works department

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by Peter Sawyer

 The LaFollette City Council approved the purchase of a street sweeper and a backhoe for the public works department.

The decision was put off at the last regular meeting. Public works department head Jim Mullens discussed the prices of the different pieces of equipment and the trade in value of the equipment the city is currently using during the workshop last Monday.

The council approved the purchase of the street sweeper with the trade in of the old one. This will cost $188,750. The council also approved the purchase of a CAT backhoe with the trade in of the old one for $82,000. The money for these purchases will come out of the capital outlay money.

Interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Mullens recommended to the counsel that it approve the termination of 16-year public works employee Ray Bostic. The council’s vote was tied 2-2, so Mayor Mike Stanfield voted to break the tie.

“Why has it (taken) 16 years to come to this point?” Councilmember Wayne Kitts asked.

“The powers that be decided it was no longer beneficial for him to be an employee,” Mullens said after the meeting.

The council approved the contract of the Cumberland trail connector going to the low bidder, John Anderson Construction Company, for $268,437.56.

The council also approved the upgrade for the phone system. The upgrade will cost $3,910.28 for the library and $23,265.17 for the remaining city phones. The balance will be paid out of capital outlay funds.

The council approved the $7,106 purchase of exhaust fans from Hoffman and Hoffman for the recreation department.

At the workshop last week, the council decided to look into the Tennessee Mine Rescue Advisory Committee, which is hosting a mine rescue contest at Cove Lake State Park on Sept. 21 and 22. Thirty-three teams from five states will compete in simulated mine disasters. The council wanted to see if TMRAC was a 501c3, 501c4 or 501c6 non-profit organization so that it could donate money. One Tuesday night, the council approved a $500 donation to the mine rescue contest.

“I think that’ll be money well spent on miners,” Stanfield said.

The council needs to appoint Stanfield to the hospital foundation. Stanfield was appointed to this foundation, Kitts said. It cannot be found in the minutes when he was appointed to serve on this foundation, so he must be appointed, Sexton said.

This foundation controls the $10 million from the sale of the hospital to Mercy several years ago. The money can only be used for medical purposes, and is controlled by the foundation. Stanfield represents the city council on this foundation. Councilman Wayne Kitts withdrew his motion to appoint Stanfield to this foundation, and it was decided to wait until next month when councilman Hansford Hatmaker pointed out they had not addressed this issue in workshop. The council prefers not to bring things up in meetings that had not been addressed in workshop, Kitts said. The council will address this issue at the next workshop before voting on it at the next meeting.