Steelville city councilmen have agreed on a trash pick-up provider, but want more information on the fees the city tacks on to the bill customers receive. At the council meeting held February 4, two bids were received to provide garbage removal service for the next three years.
One was from I.E.S.I., of Bridgeton, Mo., and the other from Swinger Sanitation, of Cuba. Aldermen approved a four-year contract with Swinger. All homes that have utility service within the city limits are required to have trash service and are billed for it. Apartment complexes are different in that dumpsters are most often provided by the property owner.
The bid from I.E.S.I. was for $10.63 per home for the first year, $10.95 for the second, and $11.28 for the third. Swinger Sanitation offered a four-year contract with the following rates: $9.48 for the first year, $10.06 for the second and $10.68 for the third and fourth years. Swinger’s proposal also included the provision of poly carts for each residence.
Elaine Turnbough, whose parents own Swinger, explained the poly carts were simply included in the price quoted and that also includes any kind of maintenance or replacement needed, except for washing them out. She also noted the 96-gallon poly carts would be a new service for Steelville and they would be uniform. Currently, those residents who use a trash container provided by Swinger are charged a fee, but that will change under the new agreement, and charges to customers for 2013 will be refunded.
Aldermen asked if there would be an additional charge if a residence had more trash than what would fit in the carts. “No, we never have (charged extra),” Turnbough replied. “As long as it’s not a clean-up, we don’t have a problem with it.”
She noted that some households have more and some less and it essentially evens itself out. And she recognized that Steelville only had trash pick-up once a week and that garbage can pile up over that length of time, especially for a family.
The council questioned the city’s liability for the poly carts, wondering if they would be responsible for damages or theft, but Turnbough assured them that was not the case. Mayor Terry Palmer also noted that the carts would probably help with the issue of animals getting into trash bags and scattering garbage about.
After aldermen approved the contract with Swinger, Turnbough explained that she would be placing the order for the poly carts, and during the time it takes for them to arrive, she would continue to bill the city at their previously contracted rate. She felt it would take about five weeks for the new receptacles to arrive and stated they would all be placed in the city within a couple of days time once they are available.
Council members next looked at a memo from the Comptroller Jennifer Basham with a proposed fee structure for the new contract. The city has always had an administration fee added to the cost for the service, but aldermen were unclear on the reasoning behind the comptroller’s recommendations, and she was not present at the meeting to explain.
Pounds questioned what the current fees were. “I would like to know what kind of administrative fees we are getting now before I approve these. Are we increasing them?”
There was a consensus that there was an increase, but again, details were unclear on why and how.
Palmer pointed out that the council had already made a decision on the contractor and could postpone one on the fees until more information could be provided.
“Our concerns are just like anyone else,” Hatcher said. “We do have a lot of people on a fixed income. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot to a working person, but it can be to some.”
Aldermen agreed to discuss the city fees further at the next council meeting, when more information could be provided by the comptroller. That meeting will be held on February 19 at 7 p.m.