by Danielle Linton-Hatfield/Personal editor
At the Marshall City Council meeting held on Monday evening August 15, Councilor Dan Brandt provided an update on the City Services Department. He said there was “a lot of talk around all the changes we’re making to the sanitation service with the trucks.”
Brandt said they also addressed a concern about future rates the department will need to have.
“Currently we have reserves of $2.5 million, but we have to look at the future cost of equipment,” he added.
Brandt noted that City Administrator JD Kehrman would discuss all of this in more detail for the committee’s reports. However, Brandt said the fee structure would not go into effect immediately.
Brandt said they likely won’t have any changes until January 2023.
“Trash will have to be in the trash once we get this in place,” he continued. “You will not be able to put cans and then put trash bags around the trash cans. It will have to be in there. These cans are 96 gallon cans… They will probably hold between 10 and 12 of those 13 gallon kitchen bags… But if you need extra cans, we discussed having residents have two and that would probably be about $10 per month extra charge for this trash pickup for two cans.
Brandt said all of the cans will belong to the town of Marshall, not the residents.
It will be assigned to that property and it will be barcoded, and we will verify that it is assigned to that property,” he said. “So we don’t just give them to the public.”
Brandt explained that for large volumes or bulk pickups, the city will have a process.
“We have something like that in place right now where they – it’s a Friday pickup – but they’ll have to schedule that with the municipal services office,” he said. “They can’t throw it all away…because there will be a charge for it.”
Brandt said they “have several from time to time.”
“We understand that people need it, but there’s going to have to be a process and a fee,” he said. “We discussed putting rolloffs at the composting center, where people want to take a few mattresses and a couch over there – they can throw them in there. But there will also be a charge for these and this is currently the case.
Brandt said the carts or cans should arrive in September or October. They should then be distributed in November.
“We hope to have the two Pac-Tech trucks and start doing that in December,” he concluded.
The municipal services committee will hold another meeting in September to discuss business customers.
Currently, there are approximately 4,477 residents within the city limits, and the current rate is $19.18 per month. The city is reviewing what will need to be increased and continues to discuss CDL drivers, as well as employee salaries.
“I just want to make it crystal clear that the rate increases we were talking about are philosophical,” Councilman Tim Reeder said. “They’re out there… We’ve thrown a number, but until we get to the nitty-gritty – running the trucks, running with cans, our staff training to do it – it’s really going to be difficult for us to determine exactly what our costs will be. So I think what we’re doing right now is we’re pulling up. Not that we can guarantee it’s the maximum, but I think we probably left ourselves some leeway in case we missed something in the formula, because we don’t know the whole formula.
He said it will be a work in progress for the next six or eight months.
Kehrman shared his thoughts on the matter when discussing funds from previous years.
“Another way to think of funds from previous years is as a reserve fund,” he explained. “It’s the dollars that go back into the budget that are kept in reserve. In the past this… fund rather – was being set up in anticipation of the eventual relocation of the current public works operation to Benton Street and this has accrued an inordinate amount of $2.5 million in the funds over the years previous. Going forward, I think the committee wondered how to set a reasonable number to maintain the build-up funding from previous years to anticipate expenses like the commercial vehicles we’re talking about.
During the approximately 30-minute conversation, Kehrman also mentioned fuel increases and costs.
“The committee discussed what a rate increase should capture not only to cover the fuel increase and… the increases in that department – but also to ensure that there are sufficient reserve funds to buy things like the commercial trucks that I mentioned a moment ago. and containers,” he continued. “These commercial trucks are likely to come in somewhere in the low end of $400,000 and in the high end of around a little over half a million.”
Kehrman said City Services Manager Bill Anderson would attend a meeting to learn more about the trucks. However, Kehrman said the trucks won’t be delivered until 2024.
The rest of the conversation about the sanitation department can be listened to at the end of this article. Residents can also visit the city’s YouTube channel and search for “Marshall City Council Meeting – 08.15.2022” – or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o14ajcFN0OY.