The Spring Grove City Council debated the replacement of some city-owned vehicles at its Nov. 20 regular meeting.

Members voted unanimously to take a 1990 bucket truck (often used for electric utility work) out of service, approving the purchase of a used 2005 model for $50,850.

Funds already saved in a dedicated vehicle replacement account will pay for the purchase, City Administrator Theresa Coleman reported. The bucket truck fund stands at $52,112.

Public Utilities director Paul Morken said the old truck could also bring in $6,500 to $7,000 in trade-in value.

Morken told the council that in spite of having $61,519 available in a set-aside fund to replace a 1994 street sweeper bought in 2003, no replacement units have come to light. A new sweeper costs about $190,000-$200,000.

Morken said that once the cost of repairing an old machine surpasses replacement, it's better to find another. Members decided to table that item for now.

The council voted to approve the trade-in of a John Deere end loader after Morken explained that through the state-bid process the machines can be traded every two years for about $10,000.

Since the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) reimburses the city to use the end-loader to clear snow off of Highway 44, (from $4,000 to $7,000 per year depending on hours) it's a good idea to keep them traded, Morken said. That allows the city to keep the expensive units under warranty.

"It's costing us pretty much nothing with the money MnDOT is paying us to use it," he stated.

A city-owned 1981 dump truck that will no longer pass DOT inspection was also approved for replacement.

By using funds from two dump truck vehicle replacement funds, $56,900 is available for the purchase, Coleman said.

Council member Rachel Storlie made a motion that would allow Morken to spend up to $50,000 from those funds for a replacement after he said he may be able to find a tandem truck that would have a plow and sander for approximately that amount of money. Only councilmember Steve Kemp voted "no" on the idea.

The replacement of the water/sewer pickup truck, aka the "parts truck" was tabled for further study.

Council members asked Morken to look into various pickup truck options for city staff, who often need to go to different work sites.

The purchase of a safety tripod for confined spaces entry was approved. The equipment will cost approximately $6,000, Morken said, but is necessary for OSHA compliance.

Members decided to look at which city fund the money should come from at their next meeting.

Other news from the council

More votes were taken during the meeting. When city attorney Joe Hammell reported that the Steve Bergrud annexation petition has been finalized, members unanimously voted to move forward with the process.

Hammell also gave his opinion on how the city should set up a special "Fire Relief Association Fund" that will legally allow "public purpose" expenditures for firefighter awards/dinners. That was approved by consensus.

The council voted to split the ordinances for utility rates. Chapter 107 will now apply to sewer and water, while Chapter 105 will be for electric rates. An abbreviated publication of Chapter 105 was also approved.

Morken told members that the city's insurance adjuster had spent two days in town, finding hail damage to seven city-owned structures.

Although no set dollar amount was entered on the claim, the city will advertise for quotes to make repairs. Damage is substantial.

Since EDA properties are considered separate, two sets of quotes will be taken. If all of the damages were confined to a single quote, it would probably exceed $100,000, Coleman stated. That would necessitate the use of a sealed bid process, she added.