It’s led to special called meetings and work sessions.
And after last Thursday’s meeting of the Red Boiling Springs City Council, yet another special called meeting will be held in the next couple weeks to settle a much-debated issue:
Should the city do away with picking up trash from city dumpsters?
Mayor Kenneth Hollis has for several months said the answer should be yes.
The mayor has stated numerous times, at numerous meetings, that the city’s sanitation department is losing money and must do something to stop the financial bleeding in a department that currently has just $317 in its account.
“We can’t keep picking up garbage and losing money,” Hollis said.
Still, at the regular scheduled monthly meeting Thursday, May 13, Hollis for the first time proposed an alternative that would save the sanitation department thousands of dollars and still allow the city to collect garbage from its commercial customers, though perhaps not daily.
“I’ve come up with something else,” Hollis told councilmen. “Ya’ll think about this.”
Hollis’ proposed solution:
Layoff one employee, move another employee to the utilities department and hire two part-timers to man the collection truck four days a week to save the city $32,856 a year.
One part-timer would be paid $12 to drive the truck, the other $8 to ride on the back.
Rita Crabtree of the Palace, who took an active part in discussion on the issue, said four days a week wouldn’t cut it for her facility.
“If you only go to part-time and you’re not doing it five days a week for the Palace, we’d have to go with a different vendor,” she said, “because of state regulations on how much refuge we can have.”
Said Hollis: “You can go to four days a week and cut the route. You’re not paying all this extra stuff we’re paying. We’re not paying insurance and all the extra perks that go along with [full-time employment]. You’re not giving vacation.”
Hollis noted that the full-time employee who would be laid off is unopposed to such a move, as he plans to begin school this summer.
Councilman Terry Newberry, who has vocally opposed doing away with dumpster collections, then offered another potential solution.
“We’ve got 280 customers outside the city limits,” T. Newberry said. “Why can’t we go up on the ones outside the city limits? It’s cheap anyway.”
Hollis said he didn’t want to raise individual rates to pay for dumpster pick-ups.
Councilman John Cook then said “I’m not opposed to something like” Hollis’ proposed solution, provided a way is made to pick up the city’s three daily customers five days a week instead of the proposed four.
“We condensed it to four days,” Hollis said. “They can get it all done in four days.”
Cook said Hollis “may be onto something here” but should find a way to provide pick-ups Monday through Friday.
“I’m just trying to find something to get it back in line,” Hollis said. “We can’t keep losing money.”
Cook said he’s not convinced dumpsters are the sanitation department’s only problem.
“If they are,” Cook said, “somebody sell me on it and I’ll be with you.”
Responded Hollis: “They may not be, but that is the first step to stop the bleeding.”
In winding down the discussion the issue, Hollis suggested councilmen table the issue. Hollis said he would call a special meeting before the next regular monthly meeting June 10. The special called meeting could come as early as next week.
Hollis offers thanks
“I want to make an announcement,” Hollis said after the roll call and the approval of past meeting minutes. “As everybody knows, we’ve had this flood.
“I want to thank everyone: council members, THP, the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, all the employees, RBS fire, the Lafayette Fire Department and the City of Lafayette. They really turned out and helped us.”
The City of Lafayette, on an RBS clean-up day Friday, May 7, sent a backhoe and two Lafayette city employees to help, Hollis said before thanking once again the City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Fire Department.
Earlier in the week, LFD Chief Keith Scruggs said the damage in RBS was an estimated $3.5 million.
Hollis wasn’t the only saying thanks.
Crabtree, on behalf of The Palace also thanked the community for its help.
“I want to thank everyone for all the work they did for us during the flood,” Crabtree said. “The evacuation – as far as evacuations can go – went very well. None of our residents received any injuries or had any trauma following those events. Through Saturday night and Sunday morning, our local and county officials were in constant contact with me, and of course different members of your own council were there with me, John Cook and others. You made it as easy for me as possible.
“I want you to know that on Tuesday night, May 18, we are having at 5:30 a community cookout. We’d like to invite everybody.”
Crabtree said the menu would include hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, potato salad and dessert. It was to be held on the lawn of Macon Bank and Trust.
With a 4-2 vote, councilmen approved a water agreement with the City of Lafayette.
Voting no on the agreement were Cook and T. Newberry. Both expressed concerns with Nestle Waters being named throughout the agreement, though the agreement itself was between two parties only – RBS and Lafayette.
Councilmen voted to hold a public hearing June 10 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed budget for 2010-2011.
Councilmen, with 6-0 votes, adopted the following ordinances: Ordinance No. 10-3, Personnel Policy, on first reading; Ordinance No. 10-4, 2010-2011 budget, on first reading; Ordinance No. 10-5, setting 2009-2010 tax rate, on first reading (current rate is 1.1609) and Ordinance No. 10-6, amending 2009-2010 budget, on first reading.
RBS’ Kim Evans appeared before the council and said she was interested in spearheading an effort to obtain a grant through the Tony Hawk Foundation in order to construct a skate park in RBS. Evans said the grant needed a sponsor and that she wanted to ask permission to proceed from the council before seeking such a sponsor. The council gave her the go-ahead, and Evans will report back later to inform the council on the status of the grant.
Councilmen accepted a low bid of $4,265 from Dyer Construction for a new roof of the Sewer Plant.
Councilmen voted to buy a new truck to be used as a salt truck and for other needs where necessary. The 2010 Chevy Silverado will cost $25,715.99.
It’s time for two water tanks – Willette and Union Camp – to be inspected, as both need inspection before the end of the current year. Councilmen approved for Barge & Waggoner to perform the inspections at a cost of $2,500 each.
At the urging of Joel Coe, councilmen decided to keep a stop-sign on Heady Ridge. There had been discussion of putting one on College Street, possibly as a 3-way stop.
Councilman approved the hiring of Jimmy Watson to the Red Boiling Springs Fire Department.