After five weeks of debate, council approves stump grinder purchase

After five weeks of debate over four Columbus Council meetings, councilors voted 7-2 today to spend $33,750 to buy a stump grinder.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley brought a request to council on Jan. 10, asking for approval to buy the equipment so city workers could grind stumps instead of contracting the work out. After a discussion of about a half-hour, Councilor Gary Allen asked for a delay so Hugley could provide more information.

At Council’s next meeting, Hugley had the information, but Allen was absent, so the vote was delayed again. At the Jan. 31 work session, Hugley got the information to Allen, but Allen said he hadn’t had a chance to look over it, so council voted to delay the decision again.

At today’s meeting, after about a half-hour of stump-grinding discussion, Councilor Red McDaniel spoke out sharply, saying he’s never seen council spend so much time on a minor manner.

Allen then made a motion to deny the request and go back to contracting out the service.

Councilor Mimi Woodson made a substitute motion to approve Hugley’s request for the grinder.

There followed a discussion about Roberts Rules of Order and whether Woodson’s conflicting substitute motion was allowed. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said she didn’t think it was. City Attorney Clifton Fay said it was allowable.

Woodson’s motion to buy the grinder passed 7-2, with Allen and Thomas opposed.