Valley Falls City Council criticized for taking high trash hauling bid

by Clarke Davis

City hall is taking some heat after the Valley Falls City Council accepted the high bidder to haul trash last month, jumping the monthly fee $2.75 a household.

S.M Ball Trash Service, of Perry, was awarded a three-year contract on a 3-2 vote at the rate of $12.75 a month. Waste Management Inc. bid $10.50, the same rate with no increase.

Pat Reyle, a recent unsuccessful candidate for city council, was the only one to show up at a council meeting to voice an opinion.

He thought it was outrageous that the council would cost residents in excess of $33,000 over that three-year time span.

Reyle used the analogy of buying a car, stating that you shop locally but if the price difference is $3,000 you go elsewhere.

“Times are tough and we have people on fixed incomes,” he said.

Before leaving he addressed the recycling issue, noting that a central location creates problems ranging from being a mess to attracting scavengers. He suggested the program be made optional.

Councilman Todd Harrington, one of three votes in favor of Ball along with Jo Tichenor and Mike Hahn, broke in during the meeting to speak about the two companies, verifying that his decision was based on their size and locale.

Harrington said Ball was a county business with six employees and served the other towns in the county. Waste Management, on the other hand, was based out of Houston, Texas, had 50,000 employees and assets of over $20 billion.

“In my view, as a small business owner, cheaper is not always better,” he said. “We’re trying to keep small business alive.”

City administrator said he had heard no complaints and city clerk Millie Bickford has heard negative comments from three people. Mayor Charles Stutesman said he’d received one call.

Valley Falls art teacher Megan Turner, owner of Turner Designs, delivered T-shirts to the council containing the new city logo. Two of her students, Lauryn Edmonds and Jessa Brinker, who created the art work, were each given two $25 Chamber of Commerce gift certificates.

The mayor donned a T-shirt for a photo opportunity with the students.

The mayor opened bids for putting a new metal roof over the shelterhouse in the park and asphalting some streets this summer.

Heinen Custom Operations bid $11,010 and Kearney bid $13,474 for the metal roof. Bettis Asphalt, Topeka, was the only one to bid seven blocks of a 2-inch overlay for $57,995. A second bid of $43,770 was added if the council wishes to add some additional blocks.

The bids will be studied and approved at a later meeting.

A cereal malt beverage license was approved for Andy Dinger to operate a bar on K-4 highway in the back of the liquor store just vacated by Weekenders. Dinger told the council he had chosen the name Humm Dinger’s for the establishment and that he would also operate a restaurant in that location.

Councilman Shawn Jepson will be Dinger’s landlord and abstained from voting.

The council recommended approval by Dan Heinen to rezone six acres of land from agricultural use to suburban residential on 162nd Street on the west side of town. The city planning commission had recommended approval as well. The matter is before the county zoning board.

In other business, the council:

  • Received an audit report from Perry CPA David Bogner. It was a clean report and complimentary of the staff, but he cited that lack of interest being paid on certificates of deposit as “sticking out like a sore thumb.” The audit report indicated a CD rate of .14 percent or half of a money market rate, but Channell told the paper Thursday that all of the city’s CDs are now being paid at or above the market rate by Kendall State Bank. He was not sure where Bogner got that low figure. The city has about $800,000 on deposit.
  • The mayor made the following annual appointments: City administrator, Chris Channell; city attorney, Rick Johnson, city judge, Dennis Reiling; city clerk, Millie Bickford; official newspaper, The Vindicator; official depository, Kendall State Bank; chief of police, Cory Shields.
  • Held an executive session with the pool manager to review applications for summer help.
  • Gave permission to JNR Rural Internet to put radio equipment on the south tower to expand their broad band coverage. The charges will be worked out later.

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Posted by on May 16 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Valley Falls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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