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Palmyra discusses purchasing new water utility truck

Palmyra discusses purchasing new water utility truck Palmyra discusses purchasing new water utility truck
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

The Palmyra Town Council discussed upgrading its water utility and police vehicles last Wednesday evening at its semi-monthly meeting at the town hall.

Town water utility employee Dave Meyer addressed the council, explaining he researched options for purchasing a new service truck. Meyer said quotes were obtained for Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford models, each four-door, and equipped with four-wheel drive. Prices ranged from $30,000 to $32,000 Meyer said, adding the Ford quote was from Eddie Gilstrap Motors at Salem and, the Chevrolet and Dodge prices were from John Jones (with dealerships at Corydon and Salem).

Meyer said he and other water utility employees test drove each truck and, although they thought all were capable, the Ford was preferred because of a tighter turning radius.

“We do a lot of start-stop, turn around in tight spots,” Meyer added, explaining why the Ford seemed like a better fit for the town’s needs.

If a new truck is purchased, Meyer said it would be equipped with a strobe light and step bar.

Councilwoman Christall Ingle asked Meyer and the other water utility employees to price out all the options and specifications for the units and send that information so the council could review it.

“We will probably need to look at upgrading vehicles,” Ingle said, adding it might be wise to begin a replacement fund for the purpose.

“I’ll get that information for you, hopefully, by the end of the week,” Meyer said.

The water utility department currently operates three trucks, and the idea of purchasing a new one came under more serious discussion after an unknown burning smell was noticed on the town’s 2009 Toyota Tacoma.

“We’re investigating it,” Meyer said of the smell, adding due to the truck’s age, they are concerned the smell may be a sign of something worse. “If it goes, we’re worried it’s going to be a catastrophic thing,” he added.

In another vehicle matter, town marshal Dennis Lemmel spoke about an ongoing issue with one of the department’s vehicles, a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria that was recently repaired. This car has also required increasing amounts of maintenance to keep it on the road. However, Lemmel said it is again ready for duty.

“I don’t want to replace it just at this point,” Lemmel said. “I am going to put it back into service.”

Lemmel said the department’s reserve officers have been using the 2009 Crown Victoria to check speed limits and carry out other projects in town and the vehicle is sufficient for that purpose.

“I want them to get a feel for some of the streets in town,” Lemmel said, adding that replacing the vehicle was not a top priority at this time. “We’ll talk about all that later. These guys (utility employees) need a truck more than I need a car.”

Also in his report, Lemmel said the reserve officers completed 52.5 hours of in-service training in January. One of the reserves must complete his 40-hour pre-basic training. Lemmel has also been working with the reserve offices on patrolling and getting familiar with the department’s computer programs.

Lemmel said he continues to address ongoing noise issues in town. He recently reviewed Salem’s noise ordinance and found it to be less restrictive than Palmyra’s. Review of noise regulations continues and officer Joy Bruner has been researching prices on replacement signs.

“I’ve been looking at different towns and their noise ordinances,” Lemmel added.

Water utility supervisor Randy Trett presented the council with his new hourly rate for backhoe and other work, which had been discussed at a prior meeting. Trett also mentioned his desire to be paid on salary, if possible.

Town Clerk-Treasurer Debra Jones said, to her knowledge, it was not possible for an employee performing duties such as Trett to go on salary, since, although he is a supervisor, he does spend a significant amount of his working time in the field.

Ingle asked Jones to provide Trett’s pay rate for 2019 and said she would contact the state of Indiana for additional guidance on Trett’s request.

“I will call and check on this,” she added.

In other business, the council:

• Approved its claims list.

• Voted to accept a quote from SteelWeld of Corydon for new wrought-iron railing to be installed on the side entrance of the town hall. The railing is removable and will be ADA compliant.

• Discussed the town’s purchasing system for supplies. Ingle suggested it bring in its primary vendor to review the supply list and implement a system to re-order on a schedule and adjust as needed. In addition, they could also stock the most commonly-used parts.

The council’s next meeting will be Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. at the town hall.