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Divided right down the middle

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 3:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 4:06 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley City Council members were evenly divided Monday about buying $300,000 worth of machinery for upcoming water and sewer projects with the mayor making the tie-breaking vote.

“This wasn’t just pulled out of the blue,” Mayor Cliff Banks told the aldermen. “Give the people a chance.”

At a recent combined Water and Sewer and Finance committees meeting, engineer Larry Good of Chamlin and Associates of Peru outlined the city’s long-term control plan for the sewer system. According to Water and Sewer Committee Chairman Tom Nesti, Good said the city could either fix the problems as they arise or build new interceptor sewers.

Banks then brought up a third option of buying all the equipment and scoping and cleaning the sewer lines themselves. The goal would be to save the taxpayers roughly $700,000 and decrease the chance of a significant bump in the water rates.

If the city was able to find a Vactor truck at a good value, the committee was in agreement that it should be purchased immediately. It was the camera equipment and backhoe that were the problem. Banks wanted to purchase all the equipment at once, but Finance Committee Chairman Mike Richetta said that while the city needed to buy the Vactor truck now before it’s sold to someone else, aldermen needed more information before purchasing the backhoe and the camera equipment.

“The truck is a time-sensitive issue,” Richetta said. “The camera equipment is not a time-sensitive issue.”

Several aldermen were under the impression the Vactor truck would be purchased at the Monday meeting and the rest of the equipment would be discussed at another combined Water and Sewer and Finance committees meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. However, the mayor wanted to purchase all the equipment so the project could get on the move.

The key issue was whether the city needed to spend $70,000 in camera equipment, when only about $15,000 in rental fees have been charged for camera work over the past five years. The city employees rented the cameras previously only in response to emergencies, but if the city purchased the equipment, then it would become part of the street department’s regular sewer maintenance work.

Richetta and other alderman wanted more information before making a decision on the equipment, but Banks was opposed. He wanted to do everything at one time to the projects could be started as soon as possible.

Ultimately, a motion to purchase the entire $300,000 worth of equipment was passed with Richetta and aldermen Dan McFadden, Walt Marini and Chuck Hansen voting against purchasing all of the equipment and Nesti and aldermen Rick Fusinatto, Jim Taliano and Jack Narczewski voting in favor of purchasing the equipment. Banks voted in favor of purchasing the equipment, ending the stalemate.

A second motion to authorize a loan agreement with Spring Valley City Bank for $300,000 to purchase the equipment was also divided along those same lines with Banks making the tie-breaker vote.

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