Pelham raises garbage, recycling rates

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham City Council voted unanimously during a Sept. 17 meeting to slightly raise the city’s residential garbage and recycling collection rates.

During the meeting, the council approved a resolution to raise the garbage and recycling collection rates by 17 cents per month. The new rate will go into effect on Oct. 1, and will start showing up on bills dated Nov. 1 and after.

Councilman Steve Powell said the city’s contract with its garbage and recycling provider, Allied Waste Services, “allows for a rate adjustment on an annual basis.”

“Part of the contract allows this to happen. It’s part of the bid package,” Powell said.

Eric Kolb, Allied Waste Services’ municipal marketing manager, said the company requested the rate increase due to rising costs of fuel, labor, parts and equipment.

“Fuel has gone up about 28-29 cents a gallon over this time last year,” Kolb said. “This will help offset the costs to us.”

In other business, the council also:

-Voted to approve a “bare bones operating budget” to support the city’s day-to-day operations until the city’s new mayor and council members take office in early November.

Powell said the operating budget is “a mirror of last year’s operating budget” and included funding for no capital projects, travel costs or expenses, among other things.

“This is simply to carry the city forward during this transition period with the mayor and the new City Council,” Powell said.

-Voted unanimously to award a $1.132 million bid to the Haren Construction Company to renovate the city’s sewer lift station “M.” The majority of the project will be funded by $900,000 to be carried over from the city’s fiscal year 2012 budget, Powell said.

“We already approved the $900,000, so that will carry over. The question I had was why are we $232,000 over budget?” Powell said.

Powell said he spoke with Stuckey Godfrey, an engineer with the Municipal Consultants firm, about the cost overrun. Godfrey attributed the overrun to several factors, including drilling through rock to install a section of pipe, installing a mixer to “control odor and reduce operating costs” and extending the flume on the facility’s storm drain.

“The bottom line is, I’m comfortable with the explanation I got,” Powell said.

-Voted to approve a resolution supporting a “yes” vote during the Sept. 18 referendum aimed at transferring $437 million over the next three years from the Alabama Trust Fund to the state’s general fund budget.

Council President Teresa Riddle and council members Powell and Bill Meadows voted in favor of the resolution. Council members Ron Scott and Karyl Rice abstained.