City considers charging BOE for sanitation

PELHAM – Mayor Bobby Hayes wants to change the city’s policy of providing free sanitation services for Pelham’s four public schools.

After more than two decades of doing so, Hayes said he doesn’t believe providing free garbage, sewer and water to the Shelby County Board of Education benefits children as much as a direct donation to each school would.

“It’s my opinion that the county needs to pay for the service,” Hayes said. “For us, it’s a way to get that money back into the hands of our schools.”

City records show the cost of garbage, sewer and water services for the schools total more than $105,000. Hayes said this would provide an additional $26,000 each year for Valley Elementary and Intermediate as well as Riverchase Middle and Pelham High Schools.

BOE spokesperson Cindy Warner said the board was not prepared this year to pay for the services.

“It’s currently not factored into our budget so our budget would have to be amended,” Warner said. “It would complicate the entire process. Our stance is that paying for the service is just as beneficial.”

Assistant superintendent of finance Gary McCombs says Pelham has provided the service for more than two decades.

Hayes said the board takes the assistance for granted.

“That’s a pretty strong assumption on their part (not budgeting for garbage, sewer and water) and that certainly is their right, but over 23 years I challenge them to show me where that money they are saving comes back to our schools,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he doesn’t think this has to be a confrontational issue but simply a business decision the city has to make. The city council is expected to vote on the budget at its next city council meeting.

CORRECTION: Inaccurate information provided by a Shelby County Schools representative concerning other municipalities was removed from a previous version of this story