Macon County Chronicle

RBS Dumpster to Stay...Rates to Increase for All Garbage Customers; New Fire Truck Arrives

The highly anticipated decision on the fate of the City’s dumpster service, in discussion for months, was finally put to rest last Thursday night, June 10, at the regular Red Boiling Springs City Council meeting.

As requested during last month’s meeting, Red Boiling Springs Mayor Kenneth Hollis presented the council with a dumpster service schedule and price guide, which was approved to be written in an ordinance after a vote of 4-2. Voting against the proposal were council members Terry Newberry and John Cook.

While the new price guide for dumpster service will ultimately only effect 13 Red Boiling Springs businesses, Hollis’ proposal also includes a garbage rate increase for all residential customers, both inside (increased to $11 a month) and outside City limits (increased to $15 a month), and will eliminate all ‘behind-the-house’ trash pick-ups.

The dumpster price guide was created by taking into consideration the size of the dumpster (4,6,8 or 10 yards) and the number of pick-ups needed per week.

The first reading of this ordinance will be voted on at the regular July meeting.

Discussion was also had on ‘going part-time’ in the Sanitation Department, by moving one currently full-time employee to the Utilities Department, laying off another full-time employee that has requested it, and hiring two part-time employees in Sanitation.

The council voted unanimously to advertise for applications for two part-time Sanitation employees (a driver and a ‘slinger’) for two weeks. Mayor Hollis stated that the department’s switch to part-time, will save the City around $30,000.

Red Boiling Springs residents may be looking at a 30 percent increase in water and sewer rates as well, after a water/sewer rate study was presented by Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon, illustrating a 14 percent decrease in revenue from 2009, a 10 percent increase in repair & maintenance expenses over 2009 and a 40 percent decrease in sewer use at Nestle. The study was compiled from information from 2004 through 2009.

“This downward trend has been going on for the past three or four years in revenue,” said Larry Cato of BWS&C. “At the rate you’re going by the end of the year, it looks like you’re going to be real close to being in the red, if you’re not in the red.”

A 30 percent increase in sewer and water rates would result in the following:

Water  - Inside City Limits – $7.86 to $10.22 (current minimum bill, 2,000 gallons) and $3.63 to $4.72 (current per thousand gallons)

Water – Outside City Limits – $11.80 to $15.34 (current minimum bill, 2,000 gallons) and $5.44 to $7.07 (current per thousand gallons)

Sewer – Inside City Limits – $10 to $13 (current minimum bill, 2,000 gallons) and $5 to $6.50 (current per thousand gallons)

Sewer – Outside City Limits – $15 to $19.50 (current minimum bill, 2,000 gallons) and $7.50 to $9.75 (current per thousand gallons)

Residential water and sewer rates have not been increased in RBS since 2001, according to the report. The finished report will be distributed to City Council members the week of June 28th and will be discussed during the July meeting.

Later on, further down the agenda, Mayor Hollis discussed hiring a full-time employee in the Utilities Department to fill a position that has been open for months, in addition to the full-time employee being transferred from the Sanitation Department.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire someone in the Utilities Department if we’re going to be in the red by the end of the year,” said councilman Terry Newberry.

After announcing that the City would save $30,000 in the Sanitation Department by going to part-time employment, Cook also questioned the concept of hiring of another full-time Utilities employee.

“If you end up hiring another person in the Utilities Department you defeated the whole purpose here of trying to save that money for the City,” he remarked. “I know it’s two different departments but . . .”

Mayor Hollis responded by saying that “We’re just advertising. We’re not hiring anybody tonight.”

Councilman Cook suggested filling the open position with the transferred Sanitation Department employee and waiting to see if a second full-time employee is needed before advertising for applications.

After a vote of 4-2, with Cook and T. Newberry in opposition, the motion was carried to advertise for applications for one full-time employee in the Utilities Department.

Red Boiling Springs Fire Chief Danny Knight reported that the donated fire truck, from a department in New Jersey, had been successfully transported and the rest of the donated equipment will arrive in August.

During the Any Other Business portion of the agenda, Mayor Hollis announced that there is $72 million available to 17 Tennessee counties affected by the 2008 tornado and/or the 2010 flood. For the City of Red Boiling Springs, Hollis hopes to receive $2 million to rebuild the City’s sewer treatment plant and additional funds for a new City Hall, Police Department and Fire Department, to be built outside of the City’s “flood area.”

“We’d be out here somewhere on the Bypass in a brand new building,” he said.

Hollis added that the grant is received at 100 percent, with no matching or payback stipulations.

It was also reported that around $3 million in flood damage and repairs were reported by the City of RBS to FEMA two weeks ago.

In Other Business:

  • Ordinance #10-3: Approved unanimously by council members on second and final reading, the ordinance combines the City’s current Personnel Policy into one, more organized, document.
  • Ordinance #10-4: The City’s 2010-2011 budget was approved unanimously, on second and final reading.
  • Ordinance #10-5: The council voted unanimously to set the City’s 2009-2010 tax rate at 1.1609 (also the current tax rate), on second and final reading. 
  • Ordinance #10-6: Approved unanimously on second and final reading, the ordinance amends the 2009-2010 budget to include the cost of a new City truck.
  • Library: The council voted unanimously to donate $1,000 to the Red Boiling Springs library. The City makes the $1,000 donation annually, and the funds are included in the City’s budget.
  • Public Hearing: A public hearing was set for Thursday, July 8, at 6:45 p.m. for discussion on Ordinance 10-7, a municipal flood damage prevention ordinance annotated by the Legislature of the State of Tennessee. The ordinance regulates the development within the corporate limits of the City to minimize danger to life and property due to flooding, and to maintain eligibility for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Planning Commission: Linda McCrary & Rita Watson were added as members of the City Planning Commission, the number of members was adjusted from five to seven with the years of terms staggered. The number required for a quorum was also changed from three to four.
  • Fire Department: Brian King and Tom Fultz were added as members of the RBS Fire Department.
  • Parks Department: Vision 2020 has offered to clean tables and benches located in the City Parks. The City will provide the cleaning supplies.
  • Utilities Department: Winter rates for natural gas will be presented to the council in July. The City will have the option of locking in the rates in order to avoid customer increases throughout the winter months.