The Fulton Council approved a contract with a new city gravedigger Tuesday - barely.
The council was poised to sign a contract continuing its existing partnership with Central Missouri Vault Company, the New Bloomfield firm that currently digs graves and vaults for the city's existing cemeteries, at the council's meeting Tuesday.
That vote was halted by Greg Twillman of Twillman Construction, the other company that had bid on the contract. Twillman said he had underbid Central Missouri Vault Company by $15 per grave and his weekend rate was the same as his weekday rate, but was not recommended for the contract by city administrators.
"The only thing holding this up is they didn't recommend me because Maupin and Debo work with (Central Missouri Vault Company)," Twillman said. "My references spoke highly of me and we went to Hillcrest (Cemetery) and dug a grave with our equipment to show we could."
Assistant Director of Administration Matt Harline said that Twillman did an acceptable job with the grave but he initially opted to go for a more grave-experienced firm with his recommendation.
"Though Mr. Twillman has skills with excavation, he's never been in a cemetery on a rainy day to dig a grave," Harline said. "We will work with him if the council chooses, but ... Debo and Maupin (Funeral Homes) were among the references for Central Missouri and were more comfortable with the organization. The question for the council is, $15 for graves versus nothing goes wrong for someone who hasn't done part of that work."
In other business, the council also voted to accept a contract to buy 40 percent of the city's expected natural gas usage for the next 10 years at a fixed price based on past usage history.
The council had considered the contract last month in an effort to keep utility costs for rate payers from potentially rising sharply should the cost of gas increase.
Johnson presented figures for a five-year, six-year, eight-year or 10-year contract with the city's gas supplier. He and Utilities Superintendent Darrell Dunlap recommended either the six-year or 10-year rates of $4.25 and $4.59 per 1,000 cubic feet respectively, but Johnson said he was "honestly fine" with the council choosing any option or opting not to sign any contract.
Dunlap noted there was no premium for the six-year contract and "very little" premium for the 10-year contract.