By PHIL MAJOR
Dissatisfied with the service the city has been receiving, the Alba City Council voted July 1 not to approve a requested price increase from Sanitation Solutions for the city’s garbage service.
The company had requested a three percent increase based on the Consumer Price Index for the past year, as called for in the city’s contract.
That set off a rash of complaints from council members, who outlined numerous instances of trash not being picked up, trash left in the street that falls from carts, carts not being completely emptied, and carts and trash containers left in the street.
Specifically, council members questioned why the polycarts, which are designed to be emptied by a mechanical arm, are instead being emptied by hand.
The council learned that the firm has a contract through 2021, and voted unanimously not to approve the increase and ask the company to send a representative to the August meeting.
The city’s attorney was also requested to be present in August to discuss a number of items, including a proposal to adopt a maintenance code rather than a building code. A building code requires the city to provide inspectors and code enforcement personnel.
The building ordinances were not designed for a city like Alba, said Police Chief Tim Koonce, and there is no way to enforce them.
Other matters for the attorney include a proposed personnel policy and an issue with the camera system that city recently purchased for its patrol cars.
The system has not been operable despite numerous attempts to work with the company that makes them.
The council finalized the refinancing of utility bonds, which will save the city $151,516 over the 30-year life of the bond, thanks to lower interest rates.
With the savings on the bonds and the increase in property values in the city, City Secretary Lindy McCarty said the council may be able to reduce the property tax rate.
The council learned that a grant the city is seeking to fund drainage projects will be awarded in July.
The drainage system work is needed to correct problems that are leading to street damage, aggravated by this year’s heavy rains.
Kirby, William and Annie Streets have suffered damage from recent rains, and the council agreed that patching them is no more than a band aid until the drainage issues can be addressed.
The city has a good chance to receive the grant through the regional council of governments.