Abby seeks smaller garbage carts — at no extra cost
Abbotsford residents who signed up for smaller garbage and recycling carts should be getting them later this fall, but before that happens, the city council is trying to make sure taxpayers don’t get stuck paying for them.
At Monday’s council meeting, city officials questioned Dale Marth of Advanced Disposal on why the city was expected to pay half the cost of buying 65-gallon carts for 75 residents who feel like the existing 95-gallon ones are too large and unwieldy.
Advanced Disposal had proposed splitting the $9,000 cost of the 150 carts (75 each for recycling and garbage) with the city, 50/50, but several council members objected to the city having to pay $4,500.
Ald. Jim Weix noted that Abbotsford would be turning in an equal number of 95-gallon carts and wondered why the city would have to pay for the 65-gallon replacements.
“If you’re getting the larger garbage cans back for the smaller garbage cans you’ll be giving to us, it should be an even trade,” he said.
Marth said Advanced Disposal does not carry any 65-gallon carts, so the company will have to place a special order to obtain them for Abbotsford. This will cost extra in shipping because they’re not being ordered in bulk, he said.
Mayor Lori Voss said she and other city officials were under the impression that Advanced Disposal was willing to provide smaller carts if the city requested them without having to pay more. She pointed out that a competing company, Express Disposal, offered to do the same.
Marth said he didn’t recall that part of the discussions, which took place last fall before the city signed a 10-year contract with Advanced Disposal.
Marth said the city will own the 65-gallon carts because his company really has no use for them. Looking forward, he wondered how often city residents would want to continue swapping the 95-gallon carts for smaller ones.
“That’s one of the reasons we don’t like to do the 65-gallons; there’s so much swapping back and forth — at a cost,” he said.
Ald. Roger Weideman said he spoke to someone who is interested in putting up a 35-unit senior living facility and wanted to know if that number of smaller carts would be available for those residents.
Marth said “probably not,” since Advanced Disposal prefers one standard size to all residents. The size difference is not all that significant, he noted.
According to specs provided by Marth, the 65-gallon carts are 2.5 inches shorter, three inches narrower and eight pounds lighter than the 95-gallon carts.
“You can see, it’s not a real big difference,” he told the council.
Weix said the complaint he hears the most is that the 95-gallon carts take up too much space compared to what people were used to before.
Ald. Dale Rachu suggested a compromise in which Advanced Disposal would pay the full cost of the 65-gallons carts that have already been requested, and if Abbotsford residents wanted more in the future, the city would pay the full price for those.
Over the city’s 10-year contract, Rachu said Advanced Disposal would easily recoup the $4,500 cost at $450 per year.
“As a company, to keep your client happy, you can’t just make this switch and not worry about that dollar number?” he asked Marth.
Marth agreed to run Rachu’s idea by Advanced Disposal’s corporate office.
“I can’t commit to that at this point,” he said.
Mayor Voss said she herself never received carts at her residence, so she would like to order one extra set of 65-gallon carts as well so they are available if another resident wants them.
Council members agreed to revisit the issue at its November meeting so that Marth has time to ask his company to pay for 152 recycling and garbage carts (with the mayor’s added).
“Hopefully it’s settled before the snow flies, because I’m getting tons of phone calls from peoole who would like the smaller ones before the wind and snow comes,” Voss said.
During public comment, former council member Peter Horacek said the council made a mistake by not asking Advanced Disposal for more than just 76 smaller carts right away.
“People are going to see them, and they’re going to want them,” he said. “You should have gone for 80 or 90 or something. I bet you would have gotten rid of them.”
_ The council approved the city’s portion of the Colby-Abbotsford Police Department’s 2021 budget, which amounts to $459,532 out of about $1 million total.
_ The council voted to sell the city’s old loader for $38,002 and to purchase a new Volvo loader for $199,500, for a net expense of $161,498.
_ MSA engineer Dan Greve spoke to the council about funding options for refurbishing the city’s 450,000-gallon water tower, which is estimated to cost as much $450,000 based on a recent inspection report. In response, the council authorized MSA to submit an intent to apply to the DNR for a possible Safe Water Drinking Loan.
Greve also convinced the council to sign off on a $49,450 proposal for MSA to do a comprehensive evaluation of the city’s water system and write a report outlining possible future needs, such as additional wells and storage tanks. Out of that total, $7,950 will be for a digitized water model that can be used to quickly identify possible deficiencies in the water utility and analyze the impact of proposed improvements.
Utility operator Josh Soyk said he has more than enough money left in this year’s water utility budget for the plan, and he thinks the digital model could be helpful. Greve said the comprehensive report could also improve the city’s chances of getting grant and loan money from the state.
_ The council approved a conditional use permit for Xcel Energy to construct a new garage and office addition at its facility at 500 N. Fifth St.
_ Stuttgen spoke to council members about various park projects they had suggested for future years, including a new concession stand at Red Arrow Park. He recommended the council put aside $10,000 to $20,000 a year to save up for larger projects like that.
_ The council approved a $45 monthly fee for bulk water sales, replacing a $45-per-filling fee the city previously charged.
_ The council approved a $7.50 flat fee for late sewer bill payments, which will only apply to accounts that are $10 or more overdue. The city previously charged a 1 percent late fee.
_ The council approved a three-year, $9,169 contract with UniFirst for providing uniforms to city employees.
_ The council approved a contract with Chimney Rock Appraisal of Eleva, which will charge the city $16,200 per year for the next three years to do property assessments and a full citywide re-valuation. Grady said a re-valuation is needed so the city’s property values remain accurate for taxing purposes.
Chimney Rock submitted a lower price than a competing offer from Bowmar Appraisal. The city’s current assessor, Associated Appraisal, did not include the cost for a re-valuation in its latest proposal for a renewed contract.
_ The council approved a new three-year contract with Johnson Block for annual auditing services, at a cost of about $20,000 per year. The firm submitted the lowest of three offers.
_ The council approved a three-year contract with Cedar Corporation for monitoring the city’s old landfill, which is required by the Wisconsin DNR. Cedar Corp.’s fee of $5,450 per year was lower than proposals from MSA and SEH.
_ The council appointed Alds. Dale Rachu, Jim Weix and Frankie Soto and Mayor Lori Voss to a new committee that will help prepare the city’s 2021 budget, review expenses and approve monthly bills. Voss said this committee should free up time for the council’s committee of the whole.
_ The council approved 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 as the city’s trickor- treating hours for Halloween.
_ The council approved alcohol operator’s licenses for Tyler Barrett, Mercedes Bundick, Mary Jensen, Gage Orlikowski and Wyatt Brossow.
_ The council appointed Alds. Mason Rachu and Jim Weix to serve on a committee with city staff that will review the city’s ordinance book and identify amendments previously approved by the council but never made.
_ After meeting in closed session, the council voted to retain attorney Lee Tournie as the city’s legal counsel in its lawsuit against the owner of East Town Mall. Torunie switched law firms, from Dietrich Vander Wahl to Dempsey, which will charge $185 per hour for his service ($15 less than before).
_ The council met in closed session to “discuss negotiation tactics for potential commercial and residential development.” No specific development proposals were identified on the agenda.