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At their regular meeting Monday, September 19, the Mount Ayr city council set a public hearing on a proposed rate hike for the city’s garbage service.
The hearing will be held Monday, October 3 at 6 p.m. at the beginning of the next scheduled council meeting.
The proposed new rate would increase monthly garbage charges to $22.50 per residential customer with a 96 gallon cart. The new rate constitutes a 20 percent increase over the current $18.73.
Rates for 2-, 4-, and 6-yard dumpsters would increase by a similar percentage. (See chart below.)
The rate increase was triggered by a major shortfall in revenue to operate the city’s garbage service.
Garbage revenue for the past fiscal year of $239,477 fell far short of the $306,127 needed for the city to break even. (This total included $30,000 set aside per year to purchase a replacement garbage truck when the need arises.)
The proposed fee of $22.50 for residential customers (and pro-rated for customers using 2-, 4, and 6-yard carts with one, two, or three collections per week) would generate an estimated $303,750 per year.
In addition, at Monday’s meeting the council approved a proposed diesel fuel surcharge to offset the current spike in fuel costs.
The surcharge sets a base rate of $4 per gallon, with any price above that base triggering a monthly surcharge.
The surcharge will be figured on the at-the-pump price of diesel fuel on the first day of each month.
The difference between the pump price and the base price will then be divided by 3, the miles-per-gallon of the city’s garbage truck.
For example, if the pump price on any given month is $5 per gallon, the difference between the pump price and base price ($4) is $1. That $1 would then be divided by 3 to arrive at a 33 cent fuel surcharge for that month.
That surcharge would then be added to the monthly garbage collection amount.
Extra revenue from special pick-ups, the proposed fuel surcharge, and unscheduled services could increase revenue by another $21,885, bringing the garbage utility more in line to break even.
In the coming days the city plans to mail an informational sheet to all city residents explaining the proposed rate changes in detail.
To adopt the proposed rates, the amended garbage ordinance must pass three readings, including the first at the public hearing.
In other business the council:
• set Trick or Treat Night for Sunday, October 30 from 5-7 p.m.
• approved spending $33,564.46 of federal ARP revenue for the purchase and installation of four new pumps in sewer system lift stations.
• acknowledged the submission of the annual Street Financial Report to the state. Without the required report, the city could be ineligible to receive road use tax dollars.
• approved a five-year agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation outlining responsibilities of each for the maintenance and repair of primary roads within city limits.
• learned of progress with nuisance abatements at three properties that have been the subject of ongoing discussion.
A property at 304 S. Douglas has been assessed a civil penalty of $500 plus court costs. The owners have until November 1 to complete the nuisance abatement or the city may abate the nuisance and assess costs to the owners.
Owners of the property at 701 E. Jackson have informed the city they have found a contractor to demolish the structure. Further civil penalties are pending completion of the demolition.
Action on the nuisance at 700 E. Jackson is on hold pending progress on abatements at the previous two properties.
• learned the city crew plans to inspect and maintain all sewer lines in the city each year.
According to city administrator Brent Wise, such a schedule could result in lower insurance premiums for the city.
• learned the city crew will be flushing hydrants and exercising valves in the city water system beginning the first week in October.
• learned the city garbage truck will need $2,722 in repairs to pass DOT inspection. In addition, a leaking cylinder on the unit will require $4,238.76 in repairs.