HEBRON | It was only a $1,474 purchase, but it could prevent a 650,000-gallon water spill at the north end of town.
The council approved buying a backup air compressor for the water plant at Tuesday's meeting. Randy Decker, who oversees the town's public works department, said the compressor maintains pressure in the water system.
The plant's compressor went out a couple of weeks ago, and Decker said the entire water tank could have drained if public works employee Aaron Flowers had not responded to an alarm and got the plant's one compressor working again. As it was, 72,000 gallons leaked out before the problem was corrected.
The public works department was the focus of Tuesday's meeting as the council approved a new salary ordinance to cover the new job descriptions and titles for employees under the contract with MCO, for whom Decker works.
Midwest Contract Operations, which is based in Wisconsin and has an office in Valparaiso, provides technical support to "meet the economic and technological challenges facing municipalities, utilities and industries," according to its website.
When the transition to MCO started three months ago, the department had seven employees and now has three, said Councilman Dave Peeler. In addition to Flowers, the others are Jeff Ploughe and Charlie Mendes. The council approved hiring Robert Paajanen, but Don Ensign, council president, said Tuesday that will end the hiring.
"We have no more room (in the budget) for anyone else right now, and we are really going to depend on you guys," Ensign said.
The new salary ordinance provides the four with new job titles and raises and also created the position of mechanic, who will be paid $25 an hour as needed. The new pay rate goes into effect with the first paycheck in July.
The council also approved a new three-year contract for rubbish pickup with Republic Services. The cost will be $14.50 per home beginning July 1 and increase to $14.94 in July 2014 and to $15.38 in July 2015. Recycling will be picked up every other week instead of every week, and special bins are available for recyclables.
Finally, the council authorized seeking bids for the annual road paving program. Bids will be opened at July's council meeting.