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Power line clearance work gets council OK


Approving a contract for pruning and removing trees along the city’s electrical distribution system was the only action item on the Cheney City Council’s short agenda Tuesday night.

Light Department Director Joe Noland told the council that eight bid packages had been prepared and sent out to qualified contractors, and only two responded with proposals, with the low bid submitted by Davey’s Tree Service of Kennewick. Davey’s bid $4,770 a week, $5,184.99 with tax added. Noland said the amount was about $500 more per week than last year, but after doing some more historical checking, told the council it was in line with previous bids.

“Their price is still lower than what we paid three years ago,” Noland said.

The contract carries a budgeted amount not to exceed $45,000, which Noland said will buy about eight weeks of line clearance work. As part of the contract Davey’s will be required to adhere to tree pruning and removal standards set forth in the city’s recently adopted policy, a copy of which is included in the contract.

Councilman John Taves asked several questions of Noland regarding the contract, first of which was what happens to the debris after it’s chipped up. Noland said it’s taken to the city’s wastewater treatment plant where it’s mixed with sludge to become reusable compost.

“It benefits Todd’s (Public Works Director Ableman) program and lowers our bid price,” Noland said.

Taves also asked about the disposal of limbs too large to chip, with Noland saying the property owners are given the chance to accept these as firewood. Taves also asked about the city’s clearance standards and if owners would be contacted prior to work near their property, to which Noland said they would.

Finally, Taves also asked about how the city would be covered should any damages occur during the work. According to language in the contract, Davey’s is required to carry the proper licensing, be bonded for an amount equal to the contract price for completion of the work, and carry an insurance comprehensive general liability policy of $1 million, with the city as an additional named insured.

In other regular business the council approved regular claims and vouchers of $640,336.30. A $5,500 small contract, less than $10,000, with Lexipol for fire policy manual and daily training bulletins was previously approved by Mayor Tom Trulove, with a $3,000 claim for damages from Kammi Smith being forwarded to the city’s insurer, Washington Cities Insurance Authority.

Taves questioned why the contract was going to WCIA when it was less than the city’s deductible. Human Resources Manager Mark Schuller told him the city had issues with some of the details and elected to turn it over to WCIA for investigation and review.

In other business, Ableman noted that the city’s Clean Green curbside yard waste service is scheduled to begin April 1, and the first compost sale is taking place April 5 from noon to 3 p.m. Community Development Director Brian Jennings said the annual Cheney Clean Sweep program takes place Saturday, April 20, and that they are still looking for volunteers, hoping to top last year’s count of 220.

John McCallum can be reached at

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