Tuesday night, the Rolla City Council decided to drop an out-of-town finance company from its bid list and accept a local bank’s slightly higher interest rate. The reason: the out-of-town company tried to raise its interest rate after its low bid was accepted Jan. 7.

“I don’t have any confidence in them,” City Administrator John Butz said of Municipal Leasing Consultants. “I’d drop them off the bid list permanently.”

That isn’t what happened; the council decided to drop the company from the bid list only for the fire truck financing plan, the bid the company had won the contract with. Instead, the council took the slightly higher US Bank bid.

Finance Director Steffanie D. Rogers explained that on Jan. 7 the council had accepted a bid of 1.97 percent for a 10-year term to finance $455,274 for the fire truck.

“Initially, Municipal Leasing Consultants indicated no further action was required by the city to lock in the rate,” she said.

Then, shortly after receiving the bid, the finance company asked that a resolution be adopted to approve the bid retroactively to Jan. 18. That resolution was passed Jan. 22.

Municipal Leasing Consultants also asked the city to review the financing documents and inform them of any changes. None was noted; no further action was taken.

“Now, Municipal Leasing Consultants have proposed a slight increase in the rate referencing that the original rate was not locked in by Jan. 18,” Rogers said. “The justification from Municipal Leasing Consultants was a provision within the resolution that states, “The proposal was approved at a rate of 1.97 percent, which is fixed until Jan. 18, 2013, after which time the rate floats until funding and will be based on the Like Term Swap Rate.’”

Although the proposed rate increase was modest, the finance staff “was not comfortable executing any of the lease documents.”

Instead, Municipal Leasing Consultants and US Bank were asked to submit new rates (they were the low two bidders on the original bid, and US Bank was also the low bidder on the public works equipment lease at the Jan. 22 meeting).

The new bids were 2.05 from Municipal Leasing Consultants and 2.35 from US Bank.

The council decided that because of the machinations of Municipal Leasing Consultants, it should be dropped off the list and the bid from US Bank should be accepted.

The fire truck has already been ordered and an upfront payment has been made.

In other business or discussion:

The council approved a bid of $298,200 from Trojan Technologies for disinfection equipment at the Southeast Treatment Plant.

“This equipment will be used as part of the planned improvements necessary to meet new permit requirements set to go into effect at the end of 2013,” Hargis told the council.

Consulting engineering firm HDR/Archer-Elgin had estimated $400,000.

The Trojan bid was the low bid.

“Once this equipment bid is awarded our consultant cam complete the improvement plans, obtain approval from DNR and seeks bids for construction of all improvements,” Hargis said.

Additional equipment is still necessary for bidding, but the disinfection has a long lead time, so ordering it now is required if it is to be here and ready to install when the rest of the project is ready.

The council approved a resolution to take the next step to change the name of St. John’s Parkway to Mercy Parkway, a request made by Mercy Medical Center and recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The resolution follows the requirements of the state law for renaming a street, which requires advertising the change in the legal notices of the newspaper for a week, then waiting four weeks for public feedback.

If there is no public opposition, the council may then pass an ordinance to change the name.

The council approved the first and final readings of an ordinance authorizing Mayor Bill Jenks and City Clerk Carol Daniels to sign an authorization form permitting Rolla Police Chief Mark Kearse and his staff to apply for free government money in the form of traffic safety grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Kearse told the council grant funds, if awarded to the city, could be used to pay for overtime funding of DWI enforcement checkpoints and speeding checkpoints, for cameras in cars to document violators, especially DWI suspects, more radar guns, trailers, vehicles and other departmental needs.

There is no guarantee any grant will be awarded, but Kearse said the city has been successful in the past.

“We’ve gotten $50,000 before,” he said.

Kristy Dilley, of the Parks and Recreation Department, accepted the Missouri Amateur Softball Association Sponsor of the Year award to the city.