While nothing is official, changes could be coming to the Sedalia Sanitation Department after the Sedalia City Council heard a presentation regarding possible changes to trash pickup.
Consultant Daniel Imig, of St. Louis, spoke with council during Monday’s pre-council meeting in the Mayor’s Conference Room at the Municipal Building and offered several recommendations to improve the city’s trash and recycling programs. Imig spoke with public works, sanitation and recycling center employees as well as observed the operations process to get a clear picture of sanitation in Sedalia.
The Sanitation Department offers a number of services, much more than other cities, including trash pickup of 7,200 homes in Sedalia twice a week with no limit of trash amount, pickup on demand twice a year per household, manages the new household hazardous waste site, pickup and disposal of items for abatement code enforcement, run a commercial trash route five days a week, and take cardboard to the recycling center.
The Sanitation Department has ranked high on the city’s annual citizen survey, and Imig noted the “broad” scope of the department’s services helps contribute to that.
City Administrator Gary Edwards said the department is operating in the red, however, and Imig offered some recommendations to help with that issue.
“You are one of probably two or three cities in Missouri that still has twice a week trash service,” Imig said. “Nobody does because fuel cost, although it’s down a little bit now, in St. Louis it’s going back up and they keep talking about it being back up again this summer. You have to trim your costs of picking up trash and that’s one way of doing it.”
Imig later noted only one-third of the city utilizes the second pickup.
He also recommended reviewing the city’s monthly charge for trash pickup, which hasn’t changed for five years, noting that $11 is “really cheap.” As an example, Imig said the City of Marshall charges $17.55 per month for once-a-week trash and once-a-week recycling with an eight-bag limit and on-demand pickup one time a year. He recommended planning ahead for rate increases instead of waiting five years each time.
Imig also commented on the city’s current decision to not limit how much trash each household can place on the curb for pickup each week. He reported one-third of the city has eight to 15 bags with a lot of loose trash and two-thirds of the city has two to eight bags picked up.
“That no limit, I really question,” he said. “I’ve said this to the mayor and city administrator and (Public Works Director) Brenda (Ardrey), I question where all this trash is coming from because there is a lot of trash out there and I’m positive some of it is coming from other people doing pickups and bringing it back and letting the city pick it up and get rid of it. A limit should be looked at very hard.”
Imig’s final recommendation was for the city to take over operations of the recycling center, which is currently run by the Center for Human Services’ sheltered workshop employees.
“It’s not operating correctly and it’s costing the city a fortune and it shouldn’t,” Imig said.
Ardrey will give a localized presentation regarding Imig’s recommendations during a work session May 9.
Council approved the second amendment to the Sedalia Midtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment Plan and Project. Edwards cautioned council on the risks for the city regarding funding for the now approved projects; as the “project developer,” the city carries all the risk.
Contracts will be drafted in the coming weeks, so details haven’t been decided, but council will have to decide how the city will proceed with financing — either front the entire $2.573 million needed for all line items, take out a loan, a combination of the two, or treat it as a pay-as-it’s-available TIF.
“TIF revenue over the 15-year period will serve as debt service to pay back the city for the use of its reserves or pay back any kind of loan or bond,” Edwards explained. “It is indicated that over the life of this TIF it will produce enough revenues to provide the debt service to the city, but if the city fronts the $2.573 million, there is a risk. There’s always a chance the TIF won’t produce as projected or there’s always a chance the city could need those dollars for unforeseen emergencies.
“There is another option we’re asking you look at: only fund line items within this project when the city is assured funding is available,” Edwards continued. “Although this is technically a pay-as-you-go TIF, which means the developer, the city, carries all the risk, more accurately it’s a pay-as-available TIF. (Community Development Director) John (Simmons) is working on new retail projects for this downtown TIF area which means if approved, they would provide funding for all or most of the requested line items within this TIF project.”
No public comments were heard during the public hearing for a request to annex property located on Main Street Road and Oak Grove Lane. Council will proceed with the annexation of the property during the May 16 meeting.
During the meeting council also:
• Approved 16 board and commission appointments.
• Approved an ordinance amending Section 64-4(b) and Section 2-681 of the Code of Ordinances relating to the composition of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
• Approved a bid for a dump truck with snow plow and salt spreader for the Street Department from Navistar Inc. for $131,731 through the State of Missouri Cooperative Procurement Program.
All council members were present.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.