Much of the discussion at Tuesday night’s Richmond City Council meeting centered on truck. Council voted 5 to 3 against the purchase a new vehicle for the cemetery department. The truck would have replaced one that was stolen and set on fire in June. City Administrator Ron Brohammer wasn’t sure why the entire council did not support the expense. “I think the council thinks they would be criticized by their constituents for buying a brand new vehicle,” He stated. “I am disappointed, but we will eventually find one.” Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Brohammer:
Ward IV Councilman Rob Kinnard attempted to end a lengthy search for a truck by motioning for council to move forward with the purchase a new vehicle. “This doesn’t make sense. I love and respect all of you, but this [search] has dragged on long enough and we cannot over think this,” Kinnard said to his fellow council members. “We need to get this done and we should get something that is dependable and will do the job.”
The total cost of a new vehicle is about $25,000. The city is expected to receive $14,500 from an insurance claim. In an interview with KMZU News, Kinnard expressed some disappointment in the decision. “I respect each and every person on this council. I am surprised by the vote. I think it is our job and our responsibility to provide city employees with every tool that we can afford. I trust Ron [Brohammer] and I think he knows what he is doing. I think, as a council, we need to display that trust a little bit better.” Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Kinnard:
Dave Powell (Ward II), Bob Bond (Ward I), Tom Williams (Ward I), Jim Dunwoodie (Ward III), and Sam Coleman (Ward III) were opposed to the purchase. They did not want to be interviewed, but they said that buying a new truck was not a good use of city funds. “People need to see we are being good stewards,” Williams said in the open meeting on Tuesday. Brohammer responded saying, “We have tried to economize where we can. Over the last several years we have demonstrated that we can manage money and funds. We aren’t on a spending spree. This truck will help the crew do their job.”
Powell, Bond, and Dunwoodie said they would like to see the city purchase a used truck, utility vehicle, or use one that is already in the fleet. “The cemetery department does not utilize the truck enough to justify purchasing a brand new one,” Powell said. “We have 16 or 17 vehicles that are sitting idle and I think we could consider using one of those,” Dunwoodie added.
The city has about 50 burials each year, according to Brohammer. The issue will likely resurface at a future meeting.