Solid waste billing issues may be too large an obstacle for a regular Committee of the Whole meeting, according to Mayor Mark Vulich. In a memo to council members and city employees dated March 12, Vulich suggested the city take time to consider all possible alternatives, including legal action, before moving forward.
“I agree the city must start to receive revenue for collecting trash,” Vulich said, in the memo. “The citizens have received free trash pickup for months and this cannot continue, but we must clearly identify all the issues and develop a plan to move forward.”
A flat fee structure, proposed by Finance Director Jessica Kinser to offset losses sustained by the solid waste fund over the past several months, has prompted several citizens to call and email city hall over the past few days, Vulich said. Many are upset the program has not been implemented as promised, and do not approve of further rate hikes.
Vulich’s first recommendation to council members is to contact all vendors involved and determine if the system can ever function as intended. If it can, he said the city should make solid plans to implement it as soon as possible.
He also said legal action should be a consideration. There have been reports of trash carts, each of which contains a microchip that corresponds to a specific residence, being dumped in the streets rather than properly delivered. Kinser has also detailed various issues with the microchip scanning software.
Vulich said that if these complications are a fault of the vendor, the city should seek some reimbursement.
“I feel the Council must take immediate action to deal with this issue as our financial shortfall is directly related to the vendors inability to deliver a completely usable product,” he stated in the memo.
Vulich also encouraged the council to allow the issue to be considered by the City Services Committee prior to taking any action. If necessary, Vulich said the committee could schedule a special session to ensure that all possible alternatives, including suggestions from residents, are given fair consideration.
Kinser’s proposal remains on the agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Committee of the Whole, scheduled to begin immediately following the conclusion of the City Council business meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The committee could choose to heed Vulich’s advice, or they could advance one of Kinser’s proposals to the next City Council meeting, where it could be voted on and adopted.