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After working on the issue for nearly a year, the Shelbyville City Council is finally ready to move forward with a garbage collection franchise agreement for city residents, scheduling a first reading for the ordinance at the April 17 meeting.
During Thursday’s regular meeting, the council decided that it would solicit two different bids from haulers, one for a single cost for curbside garbage and recycling and the other with recycling as an optional add on for customers.
Shelbyville City Attorney Steve Gregory said that plan could possibly come up for another public discussion at the council's April 3 meeting, but wasn’t sure because some council members may be out of town. The meeting coincides with the school district’s spring break. There is currently no plan for it to be on the April 3 agenda.
Only two residents attended the meeting, the council’s second with a scheduled garbage discussion.
At the onset, Gregory told the council that he had made some minor revisions to the draft of the plan, such as clarifying that the billing would be done by the water company, and that garbage collection and recycling would be billed together, not separately. Also, all references to the term, “mandatory” had been taken, he said, a fact that Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty said he considered very important.
“We want to give people the opportunity to do whatever they want with their trash; we are trying to be as transparent as possible on this issue,” he said.
The ordinance still contains discounts for senior citizens, and includes back door pick-up for the handicapped.
Council member Donna Eaton asked if the rates would be cheaper if the service did not include recycling.
"I'm an avid recycler; I think it's important, it's great, it's the future, but I don't want people to wonder if it [rates] could have been lower without recycling," she said.
Tim McNally, with Waste Management, who was in the audience, along with officials from two other trash-hauling companies, told the council that if recycling is included in the service, then rates certainly would be higher.
"Keep in mind, for recycling, just to put the carts out for five thousand homes is two-hundred thousand dollars," he said. "If your garbage and recycling is going to be ten [dollars], then garbage is going to be eight [dollars]."
Hardesty interjected, "But one of you three is offering recycling free now."
"I assure you, it's not free," McNally said.
He added that if garbage and recycling collection were bundled on the same bill, it would be less expensive than if the garbage were offered and recycling was added on at the customers choice.
Said Frank Page, “I keep getting mixed signals. I hear, one says it will be cheaper to put them together, then I hear, it'll be cheaper to do it separate, then I hear if we do them separate it's going to cost more. I mean, I think maybe the answer is, to bid it both ways, and then you can make a decision.”
Mike Zoeller said the council's objective was to save money in the long run, but he believes paying just a little more to include recycling is worth it, as long as that cost stays within reason.
“I think recycling is important, it's the thing of the future,” he said. “I think it's a good thing to say to our community that we're trying to push recycling. Now if we were trying to push recycling at eight dollars a person out of a bill of seventeen or eighteen dollars, it would be a little ridiculous, but if we're paying twenty-five cents more because eighty percent of the people in this town are going to recycle...I think we need to tell our community we are for recycling. It's a good option to have for our community, for the young people, for the future, and we're showing everybody here that we are progressive.”
“I think Mike's exactly right; I think we should try to get the recycling option in there,” said Hardesty. “I think it behooves us to do garbage with recycling.”
The only concern stressed from the public was Becky Long’s worry about the billing being attached to the water and sewer bill.
“If a family is in dire straits, and if at the end of the month, they can pay the water bill, but they can't pay the garbage amount, how can the water company turn their water off if they pay their water amount and not their garbage amount?” she asked.
Hardesty said the water company could put any customer who was having trouble paying the bill on an installment payment plan. It would only be a small amount more for trash collection, he said, not enough to put a household in jeopardy.
The council also approved a resolution that requests that the Triple S Planning Commission have a public hearing and make a recommendation on a text amendment that would allow more opportunities for distilleries within city limits.
Distilleries are currently allowed only in areas zoned Industrial.
The text amendments would also set requirements, such as building height, acreage, and what activities are allowed on the premises of distilleries.
§ Production and storage of distilled spirits shall be for human consumption.
§ Maximum building height of 72 feet.
§ Facility tours, visitors’ centers, food service operations, restaurants, and the sale of products on site and complementary products for consumers are permitted.
§ Festivals or other public gatherings which serve to promote the sale of locally produced goods are permitted, provided any single event shall not exceed 56 hours.
§ A development plan must be submitted.
Shelbyville City Engineer/Public Works Director Jennifer Herrell told the council that the city had received a $12,000 grant from the Kentucky League of Cities and had used the money in a variety of ways for police, fire and public works departments, including purchasing 45 highly reflective stop signs. Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin said his department had used its portion of the money to buy lime green colored raincoats for officers to replace the black coats they were wearing, “So they won't get run over.”
Goodwin added that the police department still had some grant money left from a federal highway grant, which allows him to pay officers overtime in order to have more manpower to help get speeders off the roadways.
Herrell said she is preparing to submit a hazardous waste grant for 2014-15.
“It will be our third year for that,” she said.
Also at the meeting, council members:
§ Appointed Matthew Wade to the Housing Authority to complete Josh Hurst's unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31, 2015.
§ Heard in a report from Herrell that April 7-11 will be Cleanup Week for city residents.
§ Heard in a report from Shelby Development Corporation Executive Director Eilene Collins that the Downtown Street Party Concert Series will begin May 24 and the. Shelby County Horse Show Jubilee will begin July 24