Opp to stay in garbage business

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2016

The city of Opp will stay in the garbage business.

The council held a work session Thursday evening to discuss whether they believed that the garbage business was the way to go.

Mayor Becky Bracke said the issue comes up every three or four years when it’s time to buy a new garbage truck.

“I wanted to have a public meeting because it’s always so controversial,” she said.

City Planner Jason Bryan explained that the warranty would be up on the newest garbage truck in the spring.

Bryan said at the end of three years the company guaranteed them a $112,000 buyback option.

“So essentially, it’s like renting the truck,” he said.

Council member Skip Spurlin said he believed the program was a good thing.

“It keep you with good equipment,” he said. “And not nearly the maintenance.”

Bryan said that the maintenance plan had already saved the some $5,000 to $7,000 when it needed to fix the liner in the garbage truck. The repairs were covered under the maintenance plan.

“It’s a sweet deal,” he said.

The council agreed that keeping the garbage business within the city of Opp allows for more control for them.

For example, if a resident’s garbage is not collected, and they call, the city may dispatch a truck to the resident’s home to pick-up the garbage.

If they were to contract with another garbage provider, it would not be that simple.

Resident Chris Harper said when Opp previously had contracted garbage service, he sat in retired City Planner Don Childre’s office and listened to him answer five or six phone calls about garbage not being collected.

Harper said the control was out of the city’s hands because Childre had to tell the resident that all he could do was call the company.

There are currently 3,024 garbage accounts in the city of Opp.

The majority are residential customers.

The council received three scenarios, based on 2013 quotes given to the then-council.

All three had more expenses than 2016.

Council members were also concerned that switching to a contracted service would lead to residents’ rates increasing.

“We didn’t get a current quote, but we assume they would go up,” Bracke said.

Bryan said that even if they did contract it out, the rates were only good for three years.

“Then you’d have to renegotiate or be back here buying a new truck,” he said.

Spurlin said that garbage and taxes are the city’s means to generate revenue to better the city.

According to handout given at the city, the average over the last five years for net profit for the garbage was $187,239.38.

Bryan said from the city’s standpoint, they collect revenue from business license and fees and taxes, but those come in primarily at only certain times of year.

So, the city’s only other stream of cash flow comes from contributions from the utilities department and garbage services.

Farmer’s IGA owner James Simmons asked the council if they would consider doing something for businesses.

He said he was currently paying his provider $1,800 per month.

Bracke said she would be willing to allow them to have as many cans as they need.

The council would have to set commercial rates.