Where’s the money coming from?

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

District 4 Councilwoman voices concerns over new fleet

The Opp City Council on Monday voted to spend more than $218,000 on a new fleet of vehicles, but not without opposition from two of the five council members.

Mayor John Bartholomew requested that the council approve the following vehicle purchases:

• A four-door truck costing $22,238 for a supervisor;

• A four-door truck costing $22,238 for the city crews;

• A four-wheel drive, two-door truck for another supervisor costing $20,585;

• A two-wheel drive, two-door truck for city hall at $19,107;

• A four-wheel drive, two-door truck for the fire department, costing $20,585;

• A dump truck estimated at $84,500; and

• A Tahoe for the police department at $28,900.

Bartholomew said there is a need to build up the city’s infrastructure and he wants to give city employees the tools they need to do their jobs.



“Our crews cannot ride in the back of trucks,” he said. “Their safety is top priority.”

Councilwoman Mary Brundidge questioned the purchase of that many trucks at one time.

Brundidge said she did not understand why it was necessary to purchase new vehicles for the supervisors.

One of the supervisors’ current trucks will be fixed and given to the crew at the recycling center.

Brundidge said that she felt that if it could be used at the recycling plant It could be fixed for the supervisor.

“Where is all this money coming from?”she asked.

Bartholomew said the money is coming from a bond issue related to the sale of the cable company.

In October, the city of Opp and the Opp Utilities board approved the sale of Opp CableVision to Andy Cable. The sale included an asset agreement of $2.5 million for the equipment and another $2 million that would be put into an escrow account for the city’s bond issue.

In April, the city finalized a redemption and refinance of its 2007 bond issue, which generated $1.8 million for the city to spend on capital improvements.



“You’re going to spend up all that money,” she said. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

Brundidge also wanted to know how many dump trucks the city currently owns.

The city owns two, but one is “in very, very bad shape.”

Brundidge said she was under the impression the city didn’t have nay money.

“Something is wrong with this picture,” she said. “Just think about it. I am for the workers, but I can’t go along with the department heads.”

In September, the city was facing a $600,000-plus budget shortfall and had to ask the Opp Utilities Board for additional funding.

The council adjusted numbers and the utilities board anted up an additional $500,000 needed to balance the budget.

Councilman T.D. Morgan said he couldn’t go along with the vehicle purchases as a package.

He was against the four-wheel drive for the fire department because the city recently purchased a new Tahoe for the chief.

Bartholomew said the truck was needed for the department to test fire hydrants daily, which he said helps with ISO ratings.

Councilmembers Arlin Davis, Mike Booth and Bobby Ray Owens voted in favor of the purchases, while Morgan and Brundidge voted against them.