Green Forest purchases $43,000 chipper for storm debris removal

Friday, February 20, 2009

GREEN FOREST -- This city will spend $43,000 for a chipper to reduce the mountain of tree limbs at curbs.

Monday night, the city council passed an emergency ordinance to waive competitive bidding on the chipper.

Public Works Director Buddy Fry said the city expects to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. In the meantime, the money to buy the chipper will come from the streets budget.

Fry explained that FEMA will reimburse an hourly cost for using the chipper, as well as the other equipment the city will provide, such as a dump truck and a trailer with caution lights. Fry's figures suggested that the city might recover most of the cost of the chipper, and still have the equipment to keep for future work.

Mayor Richard Deweese said if for any reason FEMA does not reimburse the cost of the chipper, the city will have fewer paving projects this year.

Alderman Mike Miller complained that the council had not been kept up to date on the lease and eventual purchase of the chipper. "I have had citizens come up and ask me about this chipper and I can not give them an answer because as a council we have not been told anything," he said. "Just a simple phone call would have helped us as a council." 

The ordinance passed 3-1, with Alderman Miller opposed. It passed on all three readings Monday night, and went into effect immediately with an emergency clause.

The city is using 10 temporary workers to remove debris from the ice storm. Their wages are expected to be reimbursed by FEMA.

Some of the branches will be burned at the rodeo grounds. Some chips have been taken to the school, and other truckloads of chips will be delivered to people who can use them.

Deweese said the city will still be picking up limbs from residents well into spring.

Deweese announced two meetings for Monday, Feb. 23 at the depot. At 10 a.m., council will meet with representatives of Tyson Foods and Reid Engineering, which has prepared a proposal for a new wastewater treatment plant.

After a lunch break, the council will meet with its own engineering firm, McGoodwin Williams & Yates, for another presentation.

Deweese said he does not intend to have the two engineering firms commenting on each other's presentations.

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