By Jason Musselman
The Toulon City Council took the first step toward raising garbage rates on Monday night. The council voted for a $1.30 increase per customer on garbage, but will have to also pass an ordinance saying the same next month.
The increase comes after a year or more of the city losing money on garbage service.
Right now the city is behind 96 cents on every account each month, meaning the disposal company is charging the city more than the city is charging the customer. Soon the rate will increase per contract and the city would be out $1.28 per customer.
Currently Toulon residents pay $12 for garbage and $4 for recycling. There are 515 recycling customers and 479 trash customers.
What prompted the discussion of rates was a large deficit in garbage income versus garbage expenses. However, the council determined a majority of that difference is due to an expensive dumpster on Veterans Parkway that only a couple downtown business are paying extra for. But only two businesses are not making up for the total cost. The council will explore their options.
Continuing on garbage, Eric Shangraw from PDC was present to ask the city for a change to the large waste disposal. Currently PDC provides a dumpster at the sewer treatment plant; however many residents and some out of town people are abusing the dumpster and putting in everything from prohibited electronics to remodeling construction waste.
The large amount of trash caused PDC to have to empty the dumpster 89 times last year and 31 times this year from Jan. 1 through April 28. Each trip cost PDC $175 plus $40 per ton and its clear the original intent for the dumpster has been abused.
Instead of the community dumpster, the council agreed to return to the two community clean up days like neighboring towns continue to do. An “unlimited amount” of large bulky items would be allowed on the curb twice a year on dates chosen by the city (one in the spring and one in the fall).
And because of the necessity to change, the city will be vigilant about illegal dumping of trash now. No trash dumping will be allowed at the city building and violators will be fined. The city also noted they have security cameras to catch those who do not abide by the new rules.
In other business, the council approved the appropriations for the current fiscal year of May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018. The plan calls for not more than $1,151,300 in expenses.
The council also approved a new website via a quote from Stark County Communications. A $350 design fee, $75 yearly domain fee and $50 hosting plan was agreed upon by the city to update cityoftoulon.com.
Mayor Larry Hollis told the council he’d like to start replacing sidewalks this summer and can use TIF funds if the sidewalk is in the TIF district. Hollis said he’d like to start on Jefferson St. from the library back west. No action was needed because $10,000 was appropriated previously for sidewalks.
The council approved a land swap with Terry Warren in the subdivision lots south of the school. Unbeknownst to both parties, lot #6 was owned by Terry and was where the city planned to allow a new concession stand to be built. The swap gave Terry lot #2 in exchange for regaining #6.
Water Superintendent Mike Richardson reported the inspection and cleaning of the water tower and ground storage tank was completed, however the cost ran over the expected amount. The extra was due to a large amount of sediment in the ground storage tank.
An issue with the tower was also discovered. The level of water is about seven feet lower than what sensors in the control room indicate, meaning there is less water in reserve than expected. The city will see if the issue is a calibration problem or a faulty sensor but indications are the tower has been operating like that for five or more years.
Finally, the council formally recognized Sandy Langdon with a plaque and presentation. Sandy retired as city clerk at the last meeting after 22 years of service.
By Jason Musselman