The Hamburg City Council approved several measures Monday that will repair, replace or upgrade vehicles associated with city work.

The vehicles on the replacement slate were two police vehicles, which Mayor David Streeter said were no longer appropriate for police work because of their condition.

“We definitely need (the new vehicles) because the ones we have are going to go at any time,” he said.

Part of the reason for the urgency to purchase the new vehicles was that — because of shortages across the country — the two that were being held for the City of Hamburg at Police Chief Johnny Oliver’s request were the last two police vehicles available in the state on a state contract. While they had been flagged for a potential Hamburg purchase, if they city didn’t want to buy them they needed to be released, Streeter said.

“If we release them, they will be gone tomorrow,” he said. “Someone else will get them. (Dealer) parking lots are empty.”

The price for the vehicles, which the city council approved the purchase of unanimously, was $26,290 each. 

In terms of upgrading vehicles, the council voted to allow Fire Chief Tim Hollis to spend designated fire funds to equip the city’s new ladder truck, which Hamburg had purchased from the City of Crossett earlier this year.

The cost for equipping the truck will be $15,967 for a bid awarded to EDS. The two other bids submitted for the proposal exceeded $18,000.

The vehicle the council agreed to help upgrade technically does not belong to the city, but instead to Christie Martin, who contracts with the city for animal control. 

The van Martin uses to transport animals has a broken windshield, needs new tires and has no air-conditioning, making transporting animals out of town for adoptions impossible, she said. Martin and the volunteers who work with her have been using fans inside the vehicle for transports when necessary.

Martin receives $6,000 a year — $500 a month —  from the city for her work, and City Attorney Paul Keith said that approving the funds necessary to improve the van so that it can continue to function for the contracted work can simply be considered an additional payment.

In other news:

-The council voted to seek bids for street improvements. The improvements will include Pine Manor from Highway 8 to the bridge; paving over patches that have been made; and Pine Street from the fairgrounds to Washington Street.

-The council voted to give city employees who can show a completed proof of COVID vaccine card one vacation day. 

Streeter said the cost of a two-week quarantine to the city is approximately $1,828. The incentive will not cost the city as much money as the required quarantine would, he said.

“One vacation day is cheaper than $1,828,” he said.

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