Marion city OKs process to lower trash rates

The Marion City Commission Monday voted to proceed with an ordinance that would reduce residential and commercial trash fees to take account of the new county ownership of the transfer station.

The ordinance, scheduled to be voted into city law next week, also would continue to fund trash bags to city residents, but would eliminate the recycling program.

The ordinance, to be adapted from one of three proposals put forward by City Administrator David Mayfield, would take account of the city’s not having to pay disposal fees to KC Development by reducing the city residential monthly trash fee from $11.85 to $7.00.

Commercial rates, which Mayfield said are on a sliding scale varying according to the business, would be reduced across the board by $4.00 each.

The reductions come because the transfer station located in Marion is being purchased from KC Development by Marion County. The County is collecting a trash disposal fee formerly collected for KC by all trash haulers in the form of an $81.00 annual assessment, which is $6.75 a month from all county residents.

Mayfield explained that the city formerly collected a residential fee of $6.25 a month, or $75.00 annually, for the KC portion on the trash bill, and $10.00 a month, or $120.00 annually, on commercial accounts.

He said the amount not discounted to fully take account of the change will go for personnel expense to keep the tree dump open, to furnish trash bags, and for an account to fund capital outlay for purchase of refuse equipment that was not funded in 2002 or previous years.

The other proposals made by Mayfield to the Commission were one that would have charged $6.50 to residents, and reduced commercial rates by $8.00 while eliminating both trash bags and recycling, and one that would have charged $7.80 to residents, and reduced commercial rates by $4.00 while retaining both trash bags and recycling.

City officials such as Public Works Director Harvey Sanders verified for commissioners that public response to the recycling program has been difficult to quantify, and they do see residents from outside the city leaving recyclable in what is an expensive city program.

John Stutzman, trash hauler from Hutchinson who collects much of the solid waste in the county and who could be under consideration by Marion to haul trash, said his company honors the effort of customers’ recycling by saving those items until they can be sold. But he estimated that even in towns where curbside service is provided and recycling encouraged, public response is only about 50 percent.

Commissioner Larry McLain said the results accomplished by recycling are discouraging enough that he sometimes wonders if it’s worth the lack of conservation of water used to wash recycled items off.

Sanders said the city delivered 105.67 tons of garbage to KC Development for disposal last month.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot said that with next year the first the county actually operates the transfer station, the city is somewhat joining everybody else in a “guessing game” to set the final rules and costs of trash collections.

Rocky Hett, who earlier struggled to get a regional landfill located at Marion, interjected, “I’m not going to keep saying I told you so, but you could have had all this for nothing.”

The commissioners approved a new 10-year lease agreement with Butler County Community College for the college to rent the Bown Corby building for $10 a year.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin said a rocky start to the initial lease with immediate needed repairs was resolved with the college paying to replace a boiler and the city’s insurance used to pay for roof damage. He said the college is required to maintain the building, and the city to provide insurance.

The commissioners passed a resolution that would allow for Marion city crew to assist other cities in the event of disaster, and allow Marion to ask the aid of other cities if the disaster were here with only reimbursement of expenses.

The commissioners appointed Linda Holub as permanent city clerk taking that position away as a second function of the city administrator, and named Angela Lange to succeed Holub as city treasurer.

The commissioners transferred $9,568 from the electric utility fund and $75,070 from the water utility fund to the bond and interest fund to make the January payment on street bond for $104,042.50.

They approved paying warrants for $55,547.10, of which $37,572.86 was a payment to Sunflower Construction for the library/depot project.

The commissioners approved paying payroll for $37,572.86.

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