Saving money and spending money were both discussed at the study session of the Abilene City Commission on Monday.
The city could save money by refinancing lease purchase agreements on the new fire engine and water meters.
City Manager Jane Foltz said that interest rates have dropped.
Finance Director Marcus Rothchild reviewed the purchase agreement with lenders.
“On both the fire truck and the water meters we have the opportunity to save money on those leases,” Rothchild reported. “I reached out to the current lenders to see if they would entertain the option refinancing. They both came back with significantly lower rates.”
The current balance on the 2019 fire engine is $330,519. The current interest rate is 3.98 percent. Lowering the interest to 2.64 percent could save $1,558 a year. Total savings of the life of the lease is $7,791, he said.
“It’s a good opportunity right now to get some savings,” he said.
The payment is coming out of the fire apparatuses fund.
The water meter purchase is at $537,848. The current rate is also at 3.95 percent. The new rate is 1.75 percent. Rothchild said that would save the city $7,387 a year. That would be a total savings of $36,935.
Mayor Brandon Rein asked if other lending companies were contacted.
Rothchild said when the city was looking at solar energy a bank out of Florida had contacted the city of Abilene.
“They said they would consider taking over both of these lease purchases,” he said.
He contacted the local lenders to provide a bid which did provide competitive bids.
Lon Schrader, director of Abilene Public Works Department, reported the installation of a new water main for N. Brown Street from N.E. 10th to N.E. 12th streets.
The new 8-inch line will replace the current 4-inch line.
Schrader said four contractors were invited to bid on the project but only one bid was received which was $49,682.20 from J & K Contracting of Junction City. The project was estimated to cost $53,816. He said the city purchased the material which was just over $20,000, making the total project at $70,000 for the estimated $80,000 project.
He said J & K Contracting has done multiple water mains for Abilene including the N.E. Eighth Street project.
He said three years ago the city replaced the line on 12th Street.
“This will basically connect those lines together. This is an area where we have had some known problems with the line we are replacing over the last 10 to 15 years,” he said.
The project would be paid for out of the city’s water fund.
The commissions reviewed a request to purchase rescue/extrication tools for the Abilene Fire Department’s rescue and squad trucks.
Interim Fire Chief Kale Strunk said that the current extrication equipment is no longer capable of performing extrication operations on modern vehicles due to the advancements of technology and design and the high tensile steels they are using.
“This has caused some concerns for life safety issues,” he said.
He said the cutters were the main problem as steel has gotten harder which requires more pressure. The current equipment is also no longer serviceable.
“We have to order parts from overseas,” he said.
He said both Dickinson County and the city have been discussing the concern of not being able to perform extrication on certain vehicles.
Updating the 15-year-old equipment was estimated at $66,670.
Strunk said the county allocated $75,000 for equipment to split between fire departments in the county and the city of Abilene allocated $43,000.
Struck said the city’s $43,000 and the county’s $25,000 would fund the purchase. The new equipment would also come with a lifetime warranty.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.