Tuesday, 13 August 2019 21:29

Rockingham Council approves for $20K grant from Governor's Highway Safety Program for police department

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ROCKINGHAM — With only two items on the agenda, City Council members on Tuesday approved a resolution for a $20,000 grant and a purchase contract for two new sanitation trucks.

The grant, awarded by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, will be used by the Rockingham Police Department to purchase in-car laptops for patrol officers, update the in-car camera system and for travel expenses, according to Chief Billy Kelly.

The department has received the grant for several years because Kelly is the district liaison for the GHSP.

The city is not required to match the grant.

Prior to approving the council’s approval of the purchase contract, City Manager Monty Crump explained that the city plans to buy two Heil DP500 25-cubic yard rear loaders from Carolina Environmental Systems, Inc. The loaders will be mounted on 2019 Navistar 7400 cab/chassis.

Crump said the purchase, which was included in the budget, is to replace two of the city’s existing units, one being 23 years old, the other 17.

The sales representative added that if the 2019 Navistar cabs are out of stock by the time an order is placed, the 2020 model will be an additional $2,500 per truck.

But Crump told council members that “the units have already been built and are sitting on the ground.”

The contract is offered under the National Joint Purchasing contract for state and local governments, according to Crump.

The total cost for both units is $362,480 or $181,240 each. The city has $363,000 budgeted.

The annual lease purchase payments will $75,000 for five years and the lease purchase contract is expected to be voted on at the September council meeting.

According to documents, the trucks should be delivered 75-90 days after receipt of a confirming order.

Crump also gave council members an update on several other city purchases.

One of those were tiger dams to prevent flooding of the water treatment facility, as experienced during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“We’ve had it flood before when there wasn’t a hurricane,” he added.

The dams have been delivered and are on site and a training session is scheduled for next Wednesday.

“Hopefully we won’t need them, and hopefully they’ll work,” Crump said. “I have a high degree of confidence they will work.”

He also updated the council on the new Sensus Flexnet water meter system, with will be fully automated, eliminating the need for meter readers.

All residential and commercial water customers will have the new meters installed. Crump said the city plans to install the first 600 meters in the central part of town and the entire process should be complete in three to five years.

The meters will emit signals to the water towers, which will be transferred to the Water Department office, he said.

According to Crump, the new system will allow the Water Department to detect and locate possible leaks much quicker.

Crump also announced the upcoming retirement of Hazel Tew, the city’s financial director, who has been a municipal employee for 41 years.

“I don’t know how many words you can use to describe Hazel and the job that she’s done for the city,” Crump said, crediting her for the city’s positive financial health. “She’s indispensable, she’s irreplaceable.”

Although she’s not set to retire until the end of next July, Crump said her replacement has already been selected.

Jennifer Lambeth will step into the position after learning the ropes from and going through next year’s budget process with Tew. She is set to start in January.

Lambeth, a Richmond County native, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting, both from N.C. State University and obtained her Certified Public Accountant license in 2000.

She worked with the firm Dixon Hughes Goodman in Southern Pines for 15 years, serving as audit director where she was responsible for audits of municipalities, nonprofit organizations and private companies.

Lambeth has been teaching accounting classes at Richmond Community College since 2015. 

“We’re extremely fortunate to have had the service of Hazel for all these years,” Crump said, “and just as fortunate to be able to have a … well-experienced and capable replacement to come in with Jennifer Lambeth.”