City selects new solid waste service provider

In their most recent session, Oneonta city councilors selected Waste Pro of Alabama Inc., as the city’s new solid waste collection provider. Waste Pro’s bid of $9.45 per month for residential service falls 30 cents below the present price and bid of Republic Services of Anniston.

Waste Services of Alabama LLC, bid $9.82 a month and Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste Southeast Inc., bid $10.55. Waste Pro’s commercial services bid of $3.19 per cubic yard also reflected the lowest price, with Waste Services at $3.58, Advanced at $3.85, and Republic at $4.20.

The request for bids sought quotes as well on: “Collection of containerized recyclable material at two (2) container locations within the City’s city limits.” Advanced and Waste Services offered those at no additional costs, while Waste Pro bid $8.50 per cubic yard with “rolloff containers” and $1.50 for “front-load containers,” but without “glass.” Republic provided its own stipulations at “$250 per haul plus $27 per ton.”

Councilmen Danny Robinson and Richard Phillips expressed particular interest in exploring the recycling option. City manager-economic developer Ed Lowe recommended the council approve the initial residential and commercial bids and table consideration of the recycling proposal.

In discussion, Lowe indicated that the anticipated start of the contract some seven weeks ahead would require considerable work for the new supplier. He estimated the recycle charge would run an additional $1 a month per household.

Robinson made reference to that charge as not all that significant but had Lowe waffle on it. The manger indicated he had estimated that figure based on past experience when the city had located containers at its library parking lot.

Recycling questions led to further comments eventually involving representatives attending for three of the bidding companies. Generally, the representatives held that there is virtually no profit in recycling for collection service companies. Those who did not list charges for recycling indicated the city would face control and sorting expenses of its own to benefit from their no charge bids.

Lowe spoke again, as he and others have asserted on other occasions, that the city would need to have some oversight in controlling public access to the recycling containers. In this session, he spoke of a possible controlled access area admissible through a key card reader. He held the city would either have to absorb the additional costs for recycling expenses or pass the cost on to its residents.

Robinson moved as Lowe had recommended. Phillips seconded the motion which passed unanimously. According to public safety director/administrator Brandon Horton, contacted later, the city’s present monthly charge to residents of $14.58 for collection services will continue at that rate. He notes that charges above the contract bid come from collection services through the Oneonta Utilities Board and city administrative charges. School board seeks additional funding

Former city councilman and current city board of education member Don Maples provided councilors a handout reviewing city revenues to the school system. He thanked the council for past assistance and for placing the board in its budget.

Maples asked the council, as it enters its usual period of budgeting considerations, to increase its appropriation to the schools. The city presently appropriates 1/25th of its sales tax revenues, an estimated $175,000 for fiscal 2017, to the school system. Maples asked the city to increase that by some $43,000 (1 percent of its approximately $4.3 million sales tax receipts) to 1/20th of that tax source.

Phillips questioned the schools’ most pressing needs. Maples listed several but explained the board envisions seeking additional revenues from other sources to augment other needs.

Robinson, who would later thank Maples for his presentation, noted that while the board has its long-range vision, so does the city. Robinson suggested the school might need to look at other sources beyond the city coffers. Other pronouncements

Lowe won approval to hold a public hearing on the downtown entertainment district at 5:15 p.m. prior to the next council meeting on Aug. 22. He also advised councilor Tonya Rogers of plans to open B Street to Second Avenue West (Ala 75 South), which might relieve Rogers’s concerns over potential pedestrian crosswalk hazards at A Street and Second Avenue.

Rogers also shared resident concerns presented her over traffic light confusion between the two sets of signals on U.S. 231 South at First and Second avenues. Lowe noted the city will discuss the matter with state transportation officials proposing a possible strobe light installation.

Rickey Statham of the Oneonta Public Library announced receipt of a $15,000 grant which will be used in part to fund a 3-D printer. He shared figures revealing increased library use and summer reading participation.

City beautification board chair Marlene Stroud presented monthly awards to residential winner Jeremiah Underwood and commercial selection, Swamp Tails restaurant.

Mayor Ross Norris and councilmen Nathaniel Butler joined Robinson, Phillips, and Rogers for the Aug. 8 meeting. Councilor Hal Blackwood missed the session. The council holds its regular meetings at 5:30 p.m. in city hall chambers the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.