Powder Springs stands to save $75,000 annually in contract alone by dropping Paulding County inmates for landscaping and janitorial work and awarding the contracts to private firms, Public Works Director Greg Ramsey said.
That figure could climb as high as $119,000 when lost time and other factors are figured in, he told the City Council at Wednesday’s work session.
Ramsey said some of the savings will come from the city no longer supplying, repairing and replacing equipment for the inmates, including two vans, two trailers, telephones, an “enormous amount” of safety equipment, vehicle insurance, and insurance for the crews themselves.
The director said a chainsaw broke Wednesday, a garage door broke last week, and a steering column broke two weeks ago—all things the city had to pay for.
“How’d you lose a garage door?” Councilwoman Rosalyn Neal asked.
Amid the laughter that erupted in the room, Mayor Pat Vaughn said: “We’ll talk about it later.”
But if the city was to have the work done by private contractors, they’d be responsible for their own equipment, Ramsey explained.
“(Paulding County officials) execute their contract as best they can,” he said. “There’s just a lot of errors involved—a lot of things happen. Accidents happen everyday. Our folks have accidents, but the problem is when they have accidents, we’re paying for it.”
Ramsey said there are no plans yet on what to do with the equipment that’s usable, but it could be auctioned or continue to be utilized by the city.
Another cost-saver he noted was in time spent working.
The crews are contracted to work four 10-hour workdays, Ramsey said, but that includes time at the jail before work, transportation, and time at the jail after work.
“As far as time they’re actually in the city working, it’s at most six hours a day—six times four is 24 hours” a week, the director said.
Councilman Al Thurman noted that the “quality” of the inmate work “is just simply not there.”
Councilman Tom Bevirt said a prisoner was suspected of a theft about three years ago.
Powder Springs can get out of the contract with Paulding with a seven-day notice, Ramsey said.
Also on Wednesday:
- Police Chief Charlie Sewell explained how selling the police department’s two motorcycles fully equipped to another police agency might be more beneficial for the city than selling them on GovDeals.com.
- Council members were presented with future use floodplain maps. The Dewberry firm’s Sam Crampton said that if residents affected by the new maps get flood insurance early, they can be grandfathered in and purchase it for about $500 a year. But if they wait until it’s “mandated on them,” he added, they could be looking at $1,000 to $2,000 annually. Crampton said some residents could even be coming out of the floodplain. Either way, those affected will be alerted by mail, he said. There aren’t many changes, so Crampton said he expects the maps to be “well accepted.”
- The council discussed how it will need to pay Norfolk Southern $100 a year, including a payment for last year, to use 3,375 square feet near the Seven Springs Museum. Vaughn called the price “pretty reasonable.”
- The council again weighed the issue of allowing citizens to vote on package alcohol sales on Sundays.
- The council discussed voting on the first reading of an ordinance Monday that would amend the city’s budget and give raises to its employees, who haven’t had an increase in pay in more than four years. City Manager Rick Eckert wasn’t sure of the figures yet, but said he would have them ready by Monday’s meeting.
- The council went into executive session to discuss a personnel issue.