After deliberating for well over an hour at a meeting last month, City Council members agreed to a compromise on the issue of how best to monitor downtown carriage horses’ working conditions: The city would rush to buy a new thermometer before summer ended, install it in the City Market, and wait three months to compare its readings with those coming from the city’s current official thermometer, which is three stories up on Calhoun Street.

Problem is, they still haven’t bought the thermometer. And it might be a while yet. Rees Scientific Corporation, the company that city IT Director Wes Ratterree had helped choose to supply a $3,300 digital thermometer, has backed out and will no longer be selling to the city. Ratterree would not comment on what caused the New Jersey-based company to withdraw.

“What I can say is they elected to withdraw from the project for their reasons,” Ratterree says. “It was not our choice, and we were disappointed they chose to do so.”

The city had planned to spend $3,800 on the thermometer, including installation costs, and have it up and running by Aug. 15. This latest development could push that deadline back. “We hope not, but having to in a way start over with vendors is certainly going to cost us time,” Ratterree says.

Jay Miller, Rees Scientific’s sales representative who attended a fairly heated meeting with city officials and concerned carriage company operators July 21, declined to comment on the company’s decision.