MURRAY – The Murray City Council voted Thursday to approve a bid more than $100,000 below the budgeted amount to install lights at the Bee Creek Soccer Complex.

A bid from Groves Electrical Services of $379,500 was about $118,000 less than the one other bid the city received from Knight Electric Inc. of $497,532. The recently formed temporary park committee voted to approve the lower bid prior to the full council meeting, and the council followed suit.

Mayor Bob Rogers said both companies are perfectly capable of installing the lights, and the biggest difference was with the brands the companies use. Knight Electric uses Musco Lighting, while Groves uses Spartan Lighting. Committee Chair Johnny Bohannon asked City Administrator Jim Osborne to explain how the products were vetted by city administrators.

“With the large difference in the bids, we wanted to make sure the specs were being met and that it was a quality product, so the mayor and I today reached out to several organizations and found out that it is a good product, the Spartan Lighting. Mayor Rogers and (Murray Electric System General Manager) Tony Thompson looked over the bid as well, and we couldn’t find a reason not to accept the bid.”

The project is being funded by a $500,000 donation from The Murray Bank. With the bid coming in so far under budget, that gives the city a considerable amount to fund additional improvements to the park system. Rogers said after the meeting that the bank’s leadership had given the city permission to put any excess funds toward improvements to the Central Park swimming pool, which Rogers has promised will open again by the end of next summer after having been closed since the fall of 2019.

Until recently, the park system was jointly controlled by Murray and Calloway County, but the city council and the Calloway County Fiscal Court recently voted to have the city assume sole ownership.

•••

The council approved a $119,998 bid from Brown Equipment Company for a sewer camera upgrade and retrofit. Prior to the council meeting, Jaimey Erwin, field operations manager for the sanitary sewer system, told the Public Works Committee that Brown was the only company to submit a bid, but it was $30,000 less than the $150,000 the department had budgeted. He said the city had dealt with the company in the past, and they sell quality equipment. Erwin said the camera system allows employees to inspect sewer lines from above ground.

•••

During the mayor’s report, Rogers said City Hall had been getting a lot of phone calls asking when the tax bills would be mailed out. Director of Finance Kim Wyatt explained the delay.

“I just wanted to let you all know that we do have the tax bills in our office,” Wyatt said. “The (Property Valuation Administrator’s) office prints those for us, and we’ve had those for over a week. Unfortunately, we have not received a file from their software company that is formatted in such a way that we can load it into our system to start receiving those bills.”

Wyatt said the PVA had changed software last year. While the PVA and the city thought they had sorted out any problems at that time, there still seems to an issue preventing the city from sending out the bills. She said the city’s software company is working to fix the problem.

Councilman Dan Miller asked if the city might want to give residents more time to pay their tax bill, noting that the council last year moved the deadline to the end of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rogers noted that since the council met an hour early on Thursday, it was considered a special-called meeting, so statute stipulates that the council could not discuss or vote on any item that was not already on the agenda. He suggested that council members consider Miller’s idea for the next meeting, adding that the tax bills would likely have been sent out by then.

In other business:

• The council voted to declare a long list of items owned by the Murray Fire Department as surplus. Fire Chief Eric Pologruto said the items were from several fire stations, including the recently demolished former Station No. 2 on 16th Street. He noted that the two breathing air compressors on the list were purchased with federal grant funds, so any money earned from the sale of those items would have to be spent on similar items and cannot be put in the city’s general fund. The items will be listed on govdeals.com.

• The council approved the second reading of an ordinance accepting a newly constructed street called City West Drive in the City West Office Park subdivision.