As the city of Hannibal looks for ways to trim expenditures from the next fiscal year's budget, an overtime-reducing proposal has surfaced regarding the use of safety bollards during special events downtown.
The proposal, which appeared on the June 6 agenda of the Hannibal Traffic Committee, would see bollards replaced with barricades during one-day events.
"Barricades cost nothing," said Rich Dauma of the Hannibal Street Department and a member of the traffic committee.
Dauma said it costs the city four hours of overtime every time the bollards are set and removed.
City Clerk Angel Zerbonia urged Dauma to follow the police department's example and begin listing the estimated overtime costs that will be incurred by the street department on request sheets that are circulated among city departments when permission to stage a special event is sought.
"You need to put that (estimated overtime costs) in there. The police always do," she said. "The only comments we get back from you all is 'will place bollards' or 'will place barricades.' The council has no idea what it is costing in overtime."
Dauma’s support of the proposal does not reflect his personal feelings regarding the safety devices, he said.
"I am really very much pro-bollards. I like the looks of them. They give the illusion of safety, and I say illusion because they are not real strong," he said. "But they are not user friendly. They are 65 pounds apiece, and the holes (in the street into which they are attached) right now are full of mud. It's not fun."
No action was taken on the proposal by the traffic committee, which voted to remove it from its agenda.
"From the traffic committee's standpoint, we really can't take this up," said Director of Central Services Andy Dorian, who presided over the meeting. "Ultimately it is a council decision. The council can tell us to put bollards in all day, every day."
Dorian told the committee that he had heard from a few council members that he described as "very unhappy" that the proposal had appeared on the meeting agenda.
The purchase and use of bollards during North Main Street events was approved unanimously by the Hannibal City Council in November 2017. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Dobson said at the time that the proposal to replace barricades with bollards had the support of North Main merchants.
In December of that year, the council accepted a bid of $11,927 from Mohler Material Handling for 50 bollards and 40 additional galvanized steel ground brackets. An additional $2,850 was approved for a trailer and other items related to the bollards project.