Two of the sanitation department’s three trucks are currently out of commission. Sanitation supervisor Jon Geddings informed the council that the one remaining truck, a 2002 Peterbilt, has not been off the road in more than 48 hours as the two-man crew struggles to run the routes.
“We are on borrowed time,” Mayor Sonny Posey said as he declared an emergency situation, which allowed the council to move forward with the purchase immediately.
Geddings said one of the sanitation department’s commercial garbage trucks is currently in Memphis getting repaired. A second truck has been breaking down on a regular basis for the past two weeks and stopped running altogether on Monday.
There are approximately 700 dumpsters on the commercial routes, which are usually run at night. Truck drivers Chris Hall and Teddy Bailey have been working night and day to keep up with the workload.
“They have changed their whole life. One of them steps out of the truck, and the other one steps in,” Geddings said.
Geddings has found a new garbage truck that will be available by the end of July. The estimated cost is $230,000.
The city will pursue the purchase of a new truck through a state bid first. The second option is a cooperative purchasing program that has been recognized by the Alabama Examiner’s Office.
The option of last resort will be negotiating with an independent retailer.
City officials did explore the idea of renting a garbage truck. The closest one was in Texas, and the cost to transport it to Jasper was approximately $3,000.
Purchasing agent Derleda Abrom said the rental fee would been approximately $6,900 per month.
Council member Jennifer Williams Smith noted that it has been several years since the city has purchased new equipment for the sanitation department.
“I want to clarify that we are not up here saying, ‘We’ve got some extra money. Let’s buy a fire engine and let’s buy a garbage truck.’ These have not been bought in a long time, and they are literally falling apart at this point,” Smith said.
Posey responded that the city has not been in a financial position to invest in equipment until recently.
“We learned our lesson, I think, from the tornado situation. We have got some good advice in the form of Matt Adams who is advising us how we should project and anticipate 20 to 25 years in the future. I know we’re on the right track,” Posey said.
The council also adopted a reimbursement resolution for equipment and motor vehicles during the meeting.