The Sedalia City Council discussed two important topics during a lengthy work session Monday night, and one could impact citizens in the next month.
Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey spoke to council about recycling and sanitation services and city staff’s recommendations for changes, based on recommendations from consultant Daniel Imig who presented to council during the May 2 meeting.
The first half of her presentation focused on recycling. The city has had a contract with Cooperative Workshops Inc. to handle recycling processing for the last five years, but about a year ago CWI contacted the city to let staff know it needed additional funding or the partnership would have to end.
“The primary issue is the contamination we see coming out of the containers of the drop off sites, and by contamination we’re talking materials that are unacceptable for recycling, so that could be organic products, it could be plain garbage,” Ardrey told council. “Mostly things like diapers, food-contaminated waste — things like pizza boxes — and these contaminated materials are then required to be landfilled, and they’re landfilled at the city’s expense.
“Secondary issues are … materials received at drop-off sites are also received from county residences, not from city residences, and the way we know that is we’ve checked the materials and the addresses are county addresses, not city addresses.”
Ardrey presented five options on how to handle the recycling issue, which must be resolved before the city’s contract with CWI ends July 1.
Option 1: Stop providing recycling services.
Option 2: Modify to fixed-price contract for recycling with CWI and add WCA (Waste Corporation) as a new contract partner. This option is no longer available because WCA said it could not fund it.
Option 3: Make recycling services available at the city’s materials management facility on state Route U. Ardrey noted that this would not be as easily accessible because residents will have to drive to the site, but it would be a staffed site so it would, hopefully, cut down on the amount of contamination.
Option 4: Option 3 plus a pilot study evaluating the feasibility of single-stream commingled recycling collection. This option is recommended by city staff. With this option, WCA would provide 125 65-gallon carts to allow pilot testing of cart-collected recyclables.
WCA would also provide 30-yard containers for the existing collection sites at the Thompson Hills Shopping Center and near Smith-Cotton Junior High School for 45 days to see how much material is collected, and how much is contaminated. If the test isn’t successful, recycling drop-off will be consolidated to only the city’s materials facility.
According to information provided by Ardrey, single-stream commingled recycling is “a system where all paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and other materials are placed by the individual into a single container for collection. These systems routinely use carts and do not require and prefer customers not use plastic garbage bags.” The materials would be taken to a material recovery facility (MRF), which is “where single-stream commingled recyclable materials are separated, baled and sold for reuse.”
Option 5: Develop and release a Request for Proposal for recycling services. Ardrey cautioned against this option, telling council the city would most likely not be able to afford the cost.
“I think we can find a way to make recycling work, it’s just a matter of how we structure it,” Ardrey concluded.
Council unanimously agreed city staff should move forward with Option 4. Council will vote on the issue at a meeting in June.
Ardrey then moved on to trash pickup, offering four options. All four options include a fee increase, but the increase varies. Currently, the trash fee is $11 per month for households and $9 per month with a senior discount. Ardrey said the fee hasn’t been increased in about five years and the increase would account for inflation and need for equipment maintenance.
Option 1: No change in sanitation services, increase the fee to help offset the cost of services ($14 for households and $12 with senior discount).
Option 2: Reduce to once-per-week trash pickup, increase the fee ($13 for households and $11 with senior discount). City Administrator Gary Edwards and Ardrey noted that Sedalia is one of only two cities in the state that offers twice-a-week trash pickup, and going to once a week would decrease cost in labor and equipment.
Option 3: Reduce to once-per-week trash pickup, five-year phase-in of citywide single-stream recycling, increase the fee ($15 for households and $13 with senior discount). City staff recommends this option.
Option 4: Develop and release a Request for Proposal for recycling services.
Council unanimously agreed that city staff should move forward with Option 3.
“This is a huge change for residents, it’s kind of a mind-shift from the way trash has been handled. I’ve been notified that one site in recent weeks has been setting 60 bags of garbage at the curb every time they collect,” Ardrey said. “We need to figure out what’s going in some of the bags at some of these houses to have such a huge volume of material. We’re going to do some waste audits and see what we have in those bags.”
Council also heard a presentation from Joe Lauber of Lauber Municipal Law about a proposed economic development incentive policy to use in the future when developers approach the city about possible project incentives. Lauber noted the policy is “flexible but strong” and “the whole thing is a guideline, as apposed to hard and fast rules.”
The policy includes guidelines about TIF (Tax Increment Financing), CID (Community Improvement District), TDD (Transportation Development District), NID (Neighborhood Improvement District), Chapter 100 industrial development incentives, and Chapter 353 urban redevelopment incentives. Monday’s work session was considered Part One of a two-part presentation. A work session June 13 will include a discussion about Chapter 100 and Chapter 353; all other items were discussed Monday.
Lauber said the proposed policy includes average numbers based on other communities, but it’s up to council to “find the right numbers for Sedalia.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.