Archive for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

City administrator changes take-home policy for city vehicles

August 19, 2009

As of Aug. 24, most of the city public works crew will no longer be allowed to take vehicles home, City Administrator Mike Yanez said Tuesday.

The change, which came just more than a year after the topic of taking home vehicles was put to rest by the city council during a July 21, 2008, meeting, was in response to a recent need to reduce city expenditures and a recent break-in of one of the city vehicles.

Between 7:30 a.m. July 11 and 7 a.m. July 12, an angle grinder and a portable power tool were taken out of a city vehicle in the 2000 block of Copper Creek Road. The items were valued at less than $500. City crews will lock up the vehicles in the new city shop, which is under camera surveillance.

The exception to the new policy will be made to Butch Rodgers, the city superintendent, and the city employee who is on call during weekends.

Rodgers’ vehicle use was one point of contention during the July 2008 meeting because he lives about 11 miles outside of the city limits, near McLouth.

Yanez said it was critical to have the superintendent available for emergency incident response, but admitted not all emergency work, such as water line breaks, were dealt with the same day and that some of the emergency work would be delegated to a local crewmember.

“If we get hit with a big water main break, Butch will come down and provide the necessary leadership,” Yanez said. “I think if we are looking at bad weather either like a heavy storm, a possible ice storm or even a possible heavy snowfall, we’ll need him to report back to the city. There are always things that come up unexpectedly from any city department.”

The idea of parking the vehicles as a way to save the city some money was brought up during Monday night’s budget hearing when members of the public, as well as city leadership, were discussing ways to reduce the mill levy increase. The decision to park the vehicles was not made during the meeting, but the following morning.

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