The Fulton City Council approved several resolutions and ordinances Tuesday night that will allow for improvements to city operations, including a new temperature control system at city hall and the latest attempt to solve overflow issues at one of the city's lift stations.
The temperature control system is being purchased in part through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant distributed through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
"The intent is to allow Fulton City Hall to be more energy efficient," Director of Administration Bill Johnson said. "There's going to be a computer that controls the temperature and humidity of the building."
He said the system also will do load management; controlling the number of air conditioning units that are on at any given time, "using temperature sensing to determine who needs it the most if we need to decrease energy usage."
Johnson said administration is recommending the council accept the bid contract from EPM, Inc., of Fulton, because "it is the most cost effective."
The project will be paid for with approximately $101,000 from the grant and approximately $33,000 from the city.
Gayla Dunn, Fulton's development officer, said a start and finish date will not be set until a pre-construction meeting, although she noted "there is a push from the government to get these projects done soon."
When it came time to grant approval for the bid, Councilman Lowe Cannell questioned placing an automated temperature control system in city hall.
"These systems ... they aren't trouble-free, and when they're not working they're a lot of trouble," Cannell said. "It's going to cost us $30,000, and are we going to recoup that (in energy savings)? Or is it going to end up costing us (in expensive repairs)?
"It seems like to me we might oughta think about it."
Mayor Charles Latham, who pointed out the council already had approved the grant application and pursuit of the system, said the city "could probably get out of it, but it would take lawyers and cost money."
He also highlighted the advantages of using a Fulton business.
"One of the benefits of having a local bidder, I'm confident EPM will take care of the city," Latham said.
Council member Steve Moore asked EPM owner Ben Trout to address Cannell's concerns.
"I've had this company since 1970. We're the manufacturer of this system, not a vendor," Trout said, pointing out his company has more than 1,000 systems installed in a five-state area. "Our systems are maintained 24-7 by our engineering department over the Internet.
"This is my system, these are my engineers - there's not a single one I didn't hire as a sophomore in high school, I put them through college."
He said EPM also provides the training, spare parts and tools for city employees to maintain and repair the system if necessary. Trout pointed out, as well, that the EPM system is the only system that is compatible with the smart grid. He said the average savings reported by customers who still send in copies of utility bills is approximately 29.95 percent.
"I appreciate the trust the city has shown in us. We'll do a good job for you," Trout again assured the council.
"That makes me feel better, thank you," Cannell said before the council voted unanimously to approve the bid.
Johnson also recommended the council approve a $44,500 bid from Ken Kauffman & Sons Excavating out of Jefferson City for a sewer and auger project.
"The City of Fulton for a number of years has had an issue with the amount of plastics and paper FRDC (Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center) has flushed into the sewer system, that over the years has caused a number of pump failures, resulting in sewage overflowing into the creek," Johnson said earlier in the day. "We're coordinating with FRDC to construct a device that will screen the plastics from the waste stream and then, through an auger machine, will auger them up and deposit it in a trash dumpster."
He said an order already has been placed for the auger, which is scheduled to be delivered during the first week of January.
The bid from Kauffman & Sons is for the construction of the base structure to mount the auger as well as a building to protect the device and store the trash dumpster.
The council approved the bid without discussion.