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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • City plans to enhance its bargaining power

  • A street sweeper, fire engine and police patrol cars are all on the city of Hannibal’s wish list in the near future. Even during a time when sales tax revenue is not living up to anticipated levels, those purchases are still possible.
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  • A street sweeper, fire engine and police patrol cars are all on the city of Hannibal’s wish list in the near future. Even during a time when sales tax revenue is not living up to anticipated levels, those purchases are still possible.
    During last month’s City Council budget workshop meeting, HPD Chief Lyndell Davis proposed taking advantage of “favorable interest rates.” And while it may not be possible to find a street sweeper, fire engine and patrol cars sitting on the same lot, it is possible to time the purchases so that the money can be borrowed at the same time.
    “It’s a good idea to combine the purchases. It will give more leverage for Doug to negotiate,” said Davis, referring to Doug Warren, the city’s finance director.
    Warren thinks the “bundling” plan is a good one.
    “It should work well,” he said. “I believe I’ve got at least four banks that have been calling me on a regular basis saying, ‘When is this going to firm up, who do we respond to and when will we get a letter?’ I think they’re all interested. It’s not often that local banks get million dollar loan deals out there that are fairly well secured. They’re all looking forward to trying to work with us.”
    Such a purchase program could also be expanded to include the Board of Public Works and Parks Department.
    “Rather than individual departments going out and trying to figure out how they’re going to buy things, they can come to me and I can work out the financing part,” said Warren.
    Warren’s game plan is to pay off the new police cars in three years, the street sweeper in five years and the fire truck in seven years.
    “As far as the bank is concerned, all they want is their payment every month, or however they want to structure the deal,” he said. “I can handle that accounting-wise so to the outside world it’s just a check written for ‘X’ number of dollars.”
    At the June 3 City Council meeting, approval was given Street Superintendent Leon Wallace to reserve a used street sweeper. The device, which reportedly had been used solely at a NASCAR track, has just 13,000 miles on it. The asking price for the sweeper is $150,000, which is significantly below what is budgeted - $250,000 which Wallace stated was the cost of a new sweeper.
    The Fire Department is seeking a special-order truck that is suitable for all the narrow streets and hair-pin turns the city has to offer.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This truck would fit our community,” said Fire Chief Bill Madore.
    The new truck would take the place of a 1990 truck. Finding replacement parts for the older truck has become a challenge, according to Madore.
    During the budget workshop, Madore noted that a $181,000 lease payment for another truck will soon end, opening the door to a less-expensive payment for a new truck, which will take around a year to build.
    As for the Police Department, the estimated cost for new vehicles is $109,000. In his budget memo to the City Council, City Manager Jeff LaGarce wrote that “an insufficient General Fund operating margin prevented patrol cars from being replaced in fiscal year 2014,” which concludes on July 1.
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