Dozens of items in the maintenance shop were approved as surplus by the Medical Lake City Council at its Tuesday, May 7 meeting.
The shop has become something of a storage location for broken items that don’t work, as well as other items like abandoned bicycles. The City Council took a glance at the items set to become surplus, but didn’t find any to note separately from the others.
“These items are items we cannot use any longer,” City Administrator Doug Ross said. “At first glance, it looks like we’re getting rid of things we can use, but we haven’t used these for years, nor do we plan on using them.”
Ross said auctions are difficult to put together largely due to the cost of advertising and the manpower needed to oversee the events on a weekend, only then to turn around and dispose the unsold items.
Among the items that weren’t included on the list is an old mobile speed indicator trailer in which Ross said Spokane County may have some interest, if they can fix it up. A Sony computer will also be destroyed, since it was used for city purposes. The computer, however, hasn’t been used in several years.
Councilman Jeff King asked if there was a way for the city to recoup any of the items’ cost, but Ross said when the aforementioned expenses of advertising and weekend work are factored in, there wasn’t.
“I had the same concerns,” Ross said.
Some items do have value, specifically some vehicles that aren’t functioning. They will be donated to Cars for Charity, and some funds will be accrued by selling scrap metal.
Also at the meeting, Ross said the transition to using postcards for utility billing is moving forward.
Changing to postcards is part of the process in setting up billing payments online and also acts as a cost-cutting move for the city, which saves funds that would otherwise have been spent on envelopes.
The next billing cycle will use postcards instead of a traditional envelope.
“We are moving closer to online bill pay,” Ross said. “We’re sneaking up on it, and we have set a goal for the end of the year.”
The city converted its utility software at the start of the month, continuing the process started last year. Training began at that time as well, keeping the transition momentum going, finance director Jennifer Hough said.
“It’ll make everything a whole lot easier,” she said.
King said some residents had concerns about the postcard system, saying it was a breach of privacy that could allow postal workers to see delinquent notices. Hough explained that the setup wouldn’t include any private information, and the design of the postcard wouldn’t prominently display any delinquencies
The other action item passed at the meeting was an interlocal agreement with the Northeast Washington Fire Coordinating Group, which will allow for the city’s Fire Department to certify its own members instead of traveling to North Bend to complete training.
The City Council also voted to change to its summer meeting schedule of one meeting per month during the months of June through August. May will still have a second meeting May 21, after which the summer schedule will begin.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.