Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TOP STORY >> Garbage rate will fall a bit less

Leader staff writer

Beginning in August, when a new company takes over, residential garbage rates in Cabot will drop from the current $16.45, but not as much as reported last month. The new rate will be $15, not $14.40.

In May, the city council passed an ordinance awarding the contract for residential and commercial garbage collection to Waste Management which had agreed to provide the residential service for $14.40, which was $2.05 less than IESI now charges.

But that price was apparently good only if Waste Management was allowed to claim all commercial customers not under contract with other companies when the ordinance was passed in May.

Currently, commercial garbage service is provided by several companies. Some did not have contracts with their customers last month when the council awarded Waste Management the contract for both residential and commercial collection.

But the council said if those companies entered into long-term contracts with their customers before Waste Management takes over Aug. 1, those new contracts would be honored.

That stipulation was the obstacle that kept Waste Management from signing.

Wayne Rathbun, director of business development for Waste Management, attended the May meeting and told the council then that it was customary for the terms of a contract to begin as soon as it was approved. The city shouldn’t allow competitors to enter into contracts with customers that should go to his company, he said.

Mayor Eddie Joe Williams told the council Monday night that the ordinance passed last month authorized him to sign the contract for garbage collection, but since Waste Management wouldn’t sign, he was forced to begin negotiations again.

Those negotiations lasted until 3 p.m. Monday when Waste Management signed the contract, he said, adding that he was not willing to bring the contract back to the council unless it was signed.

Alderman Patrick Hutton told the mayor that he was concerned about negotiations taking place after the council approved the contract.

But the mayor reiterated that the contract was not valid unless it was signed and Waste Management wouldn’t sign for $14.40 since many other companies are now under contract for commercial collection.

Williams signed the contract as soon as the council passed the new ordinance which gives the contract to Waste Management for residential collection only.

In other business, the council read but did not pass an ordinance that would have lifted the ban on selling and shooting fireworks inside city limits.

Hutton made a motion for the ordinance to be read three times and passed so the ban would be lifted in time for the Fourth of July, but his motion died for lack of a second.

He said after the meeting that even if the ordinance passes next month, it will be New Year’s before shooting fireworks will be legal in Cabot.

The state allows fireworks, he said, so why shouldn’t the city?

“Why shouldn’t people have the legal right to celebrate the Fourth of July?” he asked.