Ordinance Prevents School From Handling Garbage Disposal
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
WATER VALLEY – A plan implemented by the Water Valley School District to start hauling garbage generated on school property to a landfill in Pontotoc was nixed due to a longstanding city ordinance. The ordinance requires the school, along with all residential, commercial and industrial customers to pay the city for garbage pickup.
Water Valley School District Transportation Director Craig King attended the monthly city board meeting on Feb. 7 to seek input to reduce the cost for the school’s garbage pickup. King prefaced his request with a reminder that the school had received verbal approval from city officials to start hauling its own garbage.
“We got it all cleared, but now you are saying that the city has an ordinance that we have to pay y’all to do it,” King told alderpersons.
“Our ordinance does state that,” Mayor Donald Gray explained.
“You have to apply for an exemption, but an institution can apply and ask to be let out of it. Otherwise it is blanket enforcement, everybody is treated equally,” City Attorney Daniel Martin added about the ordinance.
“The rates have gotten to the point where we can do it in-house a whole lot cheaper. That would keep more money in the classroom. The more money we are doling out for stuff like this… is taking away from instructional funding,” King said. “With this last increase, we are up to twenty grand a year, and that is a lot for a poor school district.”
King’s reference to the rate increase comes after the city board approved a 15 percent increase for garbage pickup in the City of Water Valley starting in January. Alderpersons approved the increase after Three Rivers Landfill in Pontotoc increased the tipping fee for garbage the city hauls to the facility from $26.50 per ton to $40 per ton. The landfill’s rate increase marked the first for the city since 1997.
During the November school board meeting, Superintendent Jerry Williams told school board members that with the increase, the school district will pay almost $20,000 annually for garbage pickup. Williams cited one possible option to combat the hefty rate increase was for the school to get in the garbage business. In December, the school district purchased a used 2007 garbage truck for $15,010 and 50 garbage carts for $5,000. Speaking in the December school board meeting, school district business manager Randy Goodwin told school board members that the purchases were made after communicating with the City of Water Valley, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, State Auditor’s Office, school board attorney and the district’s liability insurance provider.
“Our ordinance still states that this is for everybody and every industry, every entity in our city. The rates went up for everybody. That is in our ordinance, so that is basically the law for us,” Alderman-at-Large Herbie Rogers explained during last week’s meeting.
King then asked about garbage pickup fees charged by the city when school is not in session.
“We have nearly a third of the year when we don’t have any garbage,” King noted about summer break and holidays.
“We can look at that… to see what breaks we can give y’all. If we are not picking up, we don’t need to charge,” Gray agreed.
“We have to do something, twenty grand a year is ridiculous for the school. We have already bought a truck, we are good to go. We can do it in-house, I figured on a four-year plan we can do it for 25 percent of what we are paying y’all,” King said.
“You do realize the ordinance is still in effect?” Rogers asked.
“I understand the ordinance, that is a whole different discussion. We need to do something, that is too much for the school. Y’all know we are a poor district,” King said.
“We will look at that,” Gray agreed.
Other business discussed during the meeting included:
• Approved the bid from Mechanics Bank to play 2.50 percent interest on money the city has in deposit for the next year. The bid was lower than Renasant Bank’s bid to pay 3.70 percent.
“For a depository, we are trying to get the highest interest rate, so we went with the lowest interest rate. This is fine, we just have to justify why in the minutes,” Martin recommended.
“We have 33 accounts,” Gray explained. The cost of checks and closing accounts, transferring funds would offset any difference we would make.”
• Approved a request from Water and Sewer Department Superintendent David Floyd to purchase a new utility truck for his department. The cost of the truck is $47,314. Floyd told alderpersons that two trucks in his department are broken down, and another is completely worn out.