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August 07, 2014 7:46 am

Recycling fee to increase 50 cents, not $1, council decides

Written by Tom Lawrence

The recycling fee charged for some residential and commercial customers will go up 50 cents, not a dollar, the Powell City Council decided Monday night.

The fee assessed to those who do not recycle their cardboard with Powell Valley Recycling will go from $1.50 per month to $2. The money, which is part of the monthly city utility bill, is turned over to PVR.

The city markets the cardboard it picks up, but charges those customers a monthly fee for doing so and turns that money over to PVR. The nonprofit also collects cardboard and sells what it gets on the open market.

The second reading of the ordinance to raise the fee was tabled at the July 21 meeting when rural Powell resident Ed Wenzel, a fixture at council meetings, suggested raising it by $1 rather than 50 cents, bringing the monthly fee to $2.50, with the city keeping the added 50 cents.

The city would then deliver the cardboard it picks up to PVR. Wenzel said the city would benefit by no longer renting a baler for the cardboard and by freeing city employees from those duties.

The recycling agency would gain by having more cardboard to sell, he suggested. The idea gave the council pause for thought, and it tabled the second reading.

But after discussions and study, city staff recommended keeping the increase at 50 cents per month and $2 total, and the council agreed. It will need one more approval before it becomes law next month.

“The budget’s been set for the Sanitation Department for the year,” City Administrator Zane Logan said.

Logan said the city staff favors letting the fee go up by 50 cents for a year or two, and members of the council agreed with that.

“I’ve heard from quite a few people in my ward, and they think 50 cents is plenty,” Councilman Floyd Young said.

In addition, PVR Director Mary Jo Decker said that organization was not ready to handle more cardboard.

“Not at this time,” said Councilman Myron Heny, who serves as the council liaison to the PVR board. Heny said the agency would have to hire another person if it added the city’s cardboard, and that would be a detriment, not a gain.

Right now, cardboard is selling for around $80 per ton, but the price fluctuates a lot, she said. She also praised Wenzel for coming up with the proposal, which was seconded by Councilman Josh Shorb.

“We are not saying we do not want your materials,” she said.

But another concern was the used baler that PVR now employs. Decker said PVR is on a very tight budget and does not want to risk damaging it. Buying a used baler would cost around $30,000 and a new one twice that or more.

“It would just depend on what type of baler we would use,” she said.

In other agenda items, the council:

• Decided to move the start times for council meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. The change will likely take effect Monday, Sept. 15.

It would benefit city staff, the council said, and may draw more people. Councilmen said once some people get home and have dinner, they are less likely to come back out and attend a city meeting.

“At 6 o’clock, maybe more people would attend,” Councilman Josh Shorb said.

City Attorney Sandra Kitchen will draft an ordinance and bring it back to the council. It would need three approvals to become law.

• Held the third and final reading of an amendment to the city code to allow landlords to obtain building permits to “construct, install, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, convert, demolish, do plumbing or mechanical work in, on or for a single or multi-family dwelling with a private garage and private accessory building all on the same premises” without being required to register as a contractor.

• Approved an administrative services agreement with Employee Benefit Management Services Inc., which is the third-party administrator for the benefit plan for city employees.

The agreement has been amended in recent years due to the evolution of health care laws and provisions, Logan told the council.

• Approved a malt beverage permit at The Commons on Aug. 16 for a fundraiser for Greg Benander.

• Shorb said the city Planning Commission, which is short one member, now needs a new secretary.  Molly Cozzens, who had served in that role, is moving away and someone is needed to keep the minutes.

The part-time job pays $40 per meeting; the commission generally meets twice a month. Interested people are asked to contact City Clerk Tiffany Brando at 754-5106 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to apply.

Hillman said he continues to struggle to find people to serve; some seem interested until they find out the duties. He said the Planning Commission’s meeting can become “contentious.”

Hillman said he was considering naming Shorb, who is the council liaison to the commission, as a voting member. He did that with Councilman John Wetzel, who is now both the liaison and a voting member of the Airport Board.

Kitchen advised against that, since as a voting member of the commission, council members are barred from voting on issues that come from those committees to the council.

The council agreed to ask people who might be interested in serving. The city may place an ad in the Powell Tribune.

• Noted that Wetzel was absent.

• Approved paying bills and claims in the amount of $270,357.32.

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