City commission approves trash fee increases

11/23/2012

Rise will affect multi-family units over next two years.

Rise will affect multi-family units over next two years.

BY SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

The Garden City Commission approved an ordinance Tuesday that will

increase garbage collection fees for multi-family residential units in

each of the next two years, to bring those rates in line with fees

currently charged to single-family homes.

Currently, monthly trash collection fees are $12.80 for multi-family,

$19.25 for single-family and $12 for commercial. In 2013, the

multi-family monthly rate would rise to $16, and in 2014 it would

increase to $19.25, the same rate single-family residential units pay.

In 2015, single-family and multi-family rates will rise to $22 per

month, and commercial to $15.25. Each year from 2016 through 2023, rates

would rise by 50 cents annually for each category, which will help

maintain a $600,000 solid waste reserve fund.

"This is good, so we don't have one big jump like we've had in the past," Commissioner John Doll said.

Revenue pays for solid waste collection, recycling and household

hazardous waste. Sam Curran, director of public works, added that Garden

City is the only community in the area that picks up trash twice a week

instead of once a week.

In other business:

* The commission postponed until Dec. 4 discussion of options for the

municipal power supply. After learning last year that Wheatland

Electric Cooperative planned 6 percent rate increases each year through

2014, the city began considering other options for its power supply. The

city buys electricity from Wheatland, and Wheatland buys its

electricity from Sunflower Electric.

Mike Muirhead, public utilities director, said currently the city is

in the fourth year of a five-year contract with Wheatland that includes

two automatic five-year extensions. The city must give notice to

Wheatland before the end of this year if it wants to end the current

contract by the end of 2013.

Last February, the city asked for proposals from 39 power providers

in five states and received 16 back. The top four received an in-depth

analysis, according to Muirhead, but two of them required a better

transmission system that won't be in place until between 2016 and 2019

and would require an $8 million to $15 million investment from the city.

The top proposal Muirhead cited is to partner with the Kansas

Municipal Energy Agency as the city's power provider, which would

involve buying excess power generated by other member cities and also

for Garden City to generate some of its own power using a couple of

28-megawatt natural gas-fired generators. Other options being considered

are continuing with the current contract with Wheatland and Sunflower,

or renegotiating a 15-year contract with both.

All the options were studied by a third party consultant. Muirhead

said the consultant concluded that the KMEA proposal would be about $30

million less over a 10-year period than the others. However,

representatives of Sunflower and Wheatland indicated Tuesday that after

reexamining their numbers, the proposed rate increases would be less

than previously stated. As a result, the commission decided to postpone

discussion until the consultant could review the new figures and provide

a better comparison.

* Doll read a letter announcing his resignation from the city

commission effective Jan. 2, 2013, the first city commission meeting of

the new year. Doll, who was elected to represent the Kansas House 123rd

District, will continue to serve as city commissioner until then.

People interested in serving the remainder of Doll's term, until the

April 2013 city election, should send a letter of interest to the city

clerk by the end of business hours Dec. 14. The letter should include

name, address and a statement of why the person wants to be appointed.

Doll has served five years on the commission, including a year as mayor.

* Mayor David Crase read a proclamation declaring Nov. 20, 2012,

James Mireles Day. Mireles, head principal at Garden City High School,

recently received the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership.

* The commission awarded a project for a U.S. Highway 83

reconstruction and widening project related to the Schulman Crossing

development and Menard's to Smoky Hill LLC, Salina, which had the low

bid of about $2.24 million. The project is funded with $2 million in

Corridor Management construction funding from the Kansas Department of

Transportation and by temporary notes issued earlier this year and will

be permanently financed with TIF bonds.

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