The Messenger 06.20.12
By KEVIN BOWDEN
It took a little time and a considerable amount of discussion, but the Union City city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to establish fees for a rural fire service subscription plan.
Tuesday’s near 90-minute meeting was a relatively eventful session that included approval of the Union City School System’s 2012-13 budget and a lengthy discussion about garbage collection and recycling. In order to take care of several issues on the agenda, Mayor Terry Hailey was forced to suspend the rules three different times during the meeting.
Union City Fire Chief Kelly Edmison met with the council to outline details of his department’s subscription program.
“It’s going to take a couple of weeks to get everything ready to go,” Edmison told the council.
The new subscription contract for rural fire protection will cost $75 per year and subscribers will be billed $750 per fire call. Those fees were unanimously approved by the council.
Edmison told the council his department is using the 911 grid system to outline its rural fire district.
“Now, you’re in business,” Hailey proclaimed after the vote.
Edmison estimated there are about 2,300 potential customers eligible for Union City’s rural fire subscription program.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council terminated the city’s interlocal agreement with the county and will still have to present its subscription plan to the county commission for final approval.
From rural fire protection to garbage collection, the council tried to tackle another complicated topic with the help of Bryan Barker of Barker Brothers Waste. He and council members discussed at length how to implement a recycling program in the city without such a program being a financial burden on city residents.
The city is facing the annual 4.5 percent increase in garbage collection rates from Barker Brothers Waste. The cost to participate in Barker Brother’s recycling program will be $3.30 per household.
There was a proposal to alternate garbage collection and recycling collection with no rate increase.
“Actually, that’s what this will lead to,” Barker said about his proposal. “It’s already being done in a lot of places.”
Concerns from council members about the financial burden of the rate increases prompted Barker to request more time to come up with a new proposal for the council.
He told the council his company is currently transporting one load of recyclable plastic to St. Louis every week, which translates to about 22 tons.
Currently city residents pay $19 a month for garbage collection, while the council has been absorbing the 4.5 percent annual increases. Based on Barker’s proposal Tuesday night, the $19 monthly fee would increase to $23.16 with the addition of the 4.5 percent increase (86 cents) and the $3.30 recycling fee.
“With all due respect, we can’t afford recycling,” Hailey told Barker.
The city’s history of absorbing the annual increases may be coming to an end, according to City Manager Kathy Dillon.
“It may have to if I can’t find other funds to cover the costs,” she told the council.
It appeared the council is interested in participating in the recycling program, but there are concerns about the cost of the program.
It was during a council orientation session two months ago that Barker first introduced the idea of a recycling program for the city. Now, he will have another week to fine tune his proposal for the council.
In other action Tuesday evening, the council:
• Unanimously approved the Union City School System’s 2012-13 budget, as presented by Gary Houston. His budget proposal included total revenue of $13,620,297 and total expenses of $14,565,297. The school system’s budget will be balanced using $945,000 in fund reserves and a $1,212,500 appropriation from the council. The council’s annual appropriation was unanimously approved.
During his budget presentation, Houston responded to questions about the number of buses used by the school system and discussed vocational training opportunities in the system.
During the discussion, it was council member Bill “Rat” Harrison who said the city has “a mighty fine school system.”
• Was reminded by Edmi-son that it is illegal to sell or use fireworks in the city limits that explode or that go airborne. The council had recently considered changes that would have allowed the sale of such fireworks in the city, but Edmison told The Messenger after the meeting the council has “disbanded that idea.”
There are at least two fireworks tents set up just outside the city limits.
• Appointed Elizabeth Kendall to the City Beautiful Commission. She was nominated for the position by Harrison.
• Approved low bids from three companies for gravel that will be used by the city’s Public Works Department. Public Works Director Steve Ladd recommended and had approved a low bid $15.60 per ton for 33c rock from Pavement Restoration Inc., a low bid of $18 per ton for #57 rock from Ford Construction and a low bid of $22 per ton for 12-inch rip rap from Riverfront Limestone LLC.