Bids were approved on the construction of the Miami Gateway Sign at the regular meeting of the Miami City Council Monday night but not without a lengthy discussion.

Miami's Purchasing Agent, Randy Hinds recommended that the Council select Heck & Wicker of Parsons, Kansas that turned in a bid of $97,760 for the four-year-old project under the budgeted amount of $100,000.

A local bidder Randy Wilkins of Bob's Awning had submitted a lower bid for the base of the project only, but Hinds said in his recommendation that awarding the bid to him would mean using City workers to do the other remaining parts of the project. The bid process for the project was opened with three alternates to bid on and Wilkins bid on the base only.

Mayor Ketcher said that Wilkin's seat on the Miami Utility Board might also be seen as a conflict in awarding him the bid and asked for City Attorney David Anderson's opinion. Anderson said that he could not in good faith come to a solid conclusion on the matter because state law and the city charter provisions were not clear on this issue.

Heck & Wicker was the only bidder that bid on the entire project. Kent Wicker, COO of the company said, “It was reinforced on two occasions (pre-bid meetings) that if you omitted anything in the bid documents and left it blank, then you have what's called a non-responsive bid, and in my history regarding bids if you have a non-responsive bid it's nullified.”

Heck and Wicker was awarded the bid by a three to two vote with Dalgarn and Atkinson voting no.

In other business, the installation of a flashing red four-way stop light at Central and Main and 1st and Main to replace the stop signs brought questions from Councilman Dalgarn regarding the non-budgeted item.

Public Works Director David Rountree said that according to Wilson funds for the project were available from the downtown Main Street and sidewalk project allocated for improvements that would cost from $40,000 to $50,000 for both and would not need ODOT approval because there is no change in the traffic flow.

Wilson told the Council that there was some money in the downtown Main Street fund that had been set aside and could go toward the project and there is probably somewhere around $80,000 there.

“How much money do we have laying around in funds like that?” Dalgarn asked.

Wilson replied it was not “laying around” but had been allocated in the budget.

Dalgarn suggested putting off the project until the next fiscal year.

“I would like to see this put in our next budget for our next fiscal year which is just months away. Seems like we are always coming up with projects that are not in our budget that we find money for them,” he said.

Trussler said that as part of the Main Street project funds set aside he believes the Council budgeted money in the project for traffic control. Anderson said there was discussion at that time but it was dropped when the projected cost was brought up.

Dalgarn was the lone vote against approval of the installation of the lights saying he was not against the stop-light project, but the source of funding for it.

Miami Interim City Manager Tim Wilson reported to the Council that the Bureau of Indian Affairs notified the City on Feb. 27 that the City did not receive any funding for the 2nd quarter for the replacement of the East Central Bridge and did not give a reason. He said the City may reapply for the funds in the next quarter.

Councilman John Dalgarn asked a question for clarification regarding an insurance reimbursement on the consent agenda concerning an expense for the Fire Department.

Miami Fire Chief Ronnie Cline said that a fire truck had been out on the south bay at the Fire Station when a trailer came unhitched from a private vehicle striking the side of the fire truck. The amount questioned was an insurance reimbursement from the owner of the trailer to make the minor repairs.

Todd Murphree, the City of Miami's Pollution Control Manager gave a review and presented reports of the City's Pollution Control. These reports are required by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Murphree said that the City has two 60-acre sites that it deposits sludge on Mustang Ridge Field, both owned by Kathy Brown. 232.49 metric dried tons of sludge or 100 truck loads were deposited from the Waste Water Treatment Plant on Field – A and no sludge was hauled to Field -B. Murphree said at this rate the life of the site could be around 15 years.

The City has two industrial users, Blitz USA, and Umicore Optical Materials according to Murhpree with no violations and compliance on all requirements.

He also provided an influent/effluent analysis report of the City's testing results for the water treatment plant, which were all in compliance. Murphree said that over 100 pollutants are also tested for twice yearly and the City had only three that had a “hit”, Methylene Chloride, Bis(2 Ethylexyl)philate, and Toluene.

He also gave a report on the Headworks Loading Comparison that measures the treatment plant's use and maximum capacity. Regarding the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant's capacity, he said,

“There is lots of room for industry growth,” he said.

In his report City Attorney David Anderson commented on the Open Records Request made by James Frasier, the attorney for former Police Chief Gary Anderson.

“Based on written communications with Mr. Frasier I believe a compromise will be reached regarding the scope of the request,” Anderson said. “We'll have speedier production and full compliance with Open Records laws.”

Frasier said when contacted by phone that he had offered a proposal to provide his own expert on the City's Barracuda system to assist with the retrieval of the requested e-mails and then David Anderson could redact privileged information. Frasier said no agreement has been made at this time.

A Special Meeting of the Miami Review Board has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 8 in the Council Chambers.