An item on Tuesday’s Mobile City Council agenda would allow for BP settlement funds to be used to purchase new garbage trucks.
It is unclear whether the council will vote on the resolution that would make the $4.7 million in settlement money available for public works vehicle purchases — under council rules, items being introduced for the first time are commonly held over — but councilors who spoke Friday said they’d support it.
Councilman Joel Daves said putting the money in the General Fund budget would be like “kicking the can down the road” because it would only be available for one year and could lead to the same issue the following year. However, he said, he thought using it for capital improvements, like the purchase of new garbage trucks, was appropriate.
“There are a lot of potential uses for the BP money,” Daves said. “I was against using it for any General Fund purpose because I didn’t think it was appropriate … I always felt it should be used for capital improvement.”
Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration doesn’t yet know how many trucks the money could purchase because the vehicles would have to go through the procurement process, spokeswoman Laura Byrne said. The money would not only be used to purchase hydraulic garbage trucks for curbside can service, but could also be used to purchase yard waste trucks and other public works vehicles, she said, although the majority would likely be garbage trucks to replace the aging fleet.
During a council finance committee meeting Aug. 25, Chief of Staff Colby Cooper told councilors that because of the age of the fleet there were only nine working garbage trucks on routes on any given day.
Councilman Levon Manzie said garbage collection is one of the city’s core functions and needed to be addressed. He said he felt the use of the BP settlement was a good way to fix the problem.
“This is a major issue,” Manzie said. “Citizens … rely on on-time garbage pickup and delays are problematic.”
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