WITT (Heartland Newsfeed) — Breaking down the details as what qualifies as “outside labor” was the primary focus of a March 20 special session of the Witt City Council, as set forth by the finance committee.
Finance Committee chair Jay Martin cited that the committee discussed whether they should compile a list of vendors and posed the question as to whether the committee wants to proceed in that regard, citing as whether it is necessary and what the parameters should be.
In a prior discussion before the entire council, an example was used regarding water leaks and then the process of who to hire for the job for plumbing services and find out what their hourly rate is and keep that information on file for each vendor. Then, as these issues emerge, the city can proceed by calling down the list of vendors until one has availability to tend to varying issues on an emergency basis. Mayor Greta Akers interjected that the inquiries were geared more toward hauling rock, electrical, heating and other services that the city might need and then calling those providers who provide such services.
Discussion took place between Martin, Akers and trustee Donna Yeske as to how the city should advertise to get quotes for varying services and went through the current list of vendors they currently utilize. Martin emphasized the idea of utilizing local businesses compared to those outside the area, unless necessary, with the idea behind this list being if the local vendors are not available. It is simply a request made by the city to see who would like to provide services to the City of Witt.
Trustee Robert Mehlberg mentioned that the city has been using the same businesses for services for many years and mentioned the possibility of the city being stiffed, which was easily quashed as not being the case, but rather as a backup if these long-term providers are unable to perform services due to tending to other clients.
Yeske mentioned that this involves taxpayer money and mentioned that it’s not her say to state that the city can only use one service provider and not give another provider an opportunity if they reside within city limits are within proximity of the city. Additionally, it was mentioned that there needs to be guidelines set so that they’re able to reach out to those who could perform the work being requested.
Past practices were discussed and while no ordinance was ever set on record, the practice of business referrals was utilized if a current vendor was unable to provide services.
Akers noted, “There has never been an issue where something has never been fixed due to not having help. Sometimes, we have more help than we need.”
Martin added that he felt comfortable stating in the next meeting to have the minutes reflect that when the ad makes it in the newspaper, any business owner wishing to be on the city’s list can contact City Clerk Angel Lynch with hourly rates and contact information.
It was noted from an ordinance that allows for an open market/free market procedure for supplies, materials and certain services which prevailing wage does not apply in most cases to a maximum of $20,000 per vendor. Anything beyond that mark is subject to prevailing wage and/or contract bids, but Martin noted that he doesn’t see how they could get out of prevailing wage but corrects himself that he stated that in the wrong context.
A question came forth as to whether the existing vendors will be on the updated list, in which the reply was in the affirmative and that they were not being replaced. A follow-up remark from an attendee inquiring as to whether Nokomis or any other municipality in Montgomery County has a list, which was met with a response that Hillsboro updates their list on an annual basis, which is the basis of the City of Witt wanting to update theirs to allow for backup providers to work with the city, with a utilized example being tree trimmers.
Concerns about out-of-area and out-of-county providers were also discussed in detail by everyone in attendance. Credentials, licensing and insurance were also discussed as conditions required to be met before these providers can be officially hired.
Discussion took place regarding the treasurer’s report, which was a separate item of business, but no action was taken.
With no additional items for discussion, the meeting dismissed at 7:32 p.m.