Garbage out, taxes in: Council renews contracts

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Two things a city needs to have happen for things to run smoothly got taken care of at Monday night’s Decatur City Council meeting.

The garbage will go out, and the taxes will come in.

The council renewed the city’s contract with Wise County Appraisal District for 2013, assuring that the district will continue not only to appraise property, but also to assess and collect property taxes for the city.

Under the terms of the contract, WCAD will mail current tax notices in October and second notices in February, with third notices, if needed, going out 30 to 60 days prior to July 1. The Chief Appraiser is designated as the Tax Assessor/Collector for the city.

Total cost for the service is $3,086, payable in four quarterly installments of $771.50 beginning Jan. 1. That comes to just under 65 cents per parcel – “still a pretty good bargain” according to City Manager Brett Shannon.

“The service has been fabulous,” he added. “There’s been no decrease in collection rates, and when they do collect money, they get it to us promptly.”

The measure was approved unanimously.

As for the garbage, the council approved on second reading a renewal that extends its contract for solid waste and recycling with Progressive Waste Solutions through March 31, 2018.

Shannon gave a brief rundown of the history of waste collection since the city got out of the business in 1990 and began using a private contractor. After 10 years with another company, IESI got the contract in 2000. It was renewed in 2005, then in 2008 they came to the city with a need to buy new trucks, and the contract was extended for five years.

That contract was to expire at the end of March, 2013.

“The rates are exactly the same as we’re paying now,” Shannon said.

It was noted that the contract provides for periodic rate adjustments as needed, but the company is not seeking any rate adjustment at this point.

The rates were raised 3.65 percent in October of 2011 to the current rate of $12.38 a month for residential curbside collection and another $3.81 for recycling.

Norm Bulaich, municipal manager for IESI – which recently changed its name to Progressive Waste Solutions – told the council the company appreciates the city’s business.

The council approved minutes of its Aug. 21 joint workshop with the Planning & Zoning Commission and its Oct. 22 meeting, and approved bills and invoices for October.

The council also heard reports from:

  • Airport Manager Mike Sayers, who noted that offices in Hangar 600 have been completed under a 50-50 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation; an underground electrical fire destroyed some wiring within the airports runway lighting system and was repaired by airport staff; and two aircraft which had accidents at the airport earlier this fall have been crated up and removed from the airfield. He also reported on plans for the west field hangar and ramp areas and fuel sales.
  • Civic Center Manager Lori Sherwood, who noted there are 36 events booked in December, only one of which does not include food service. More than 2,100 people are to be served at those events, many of which are Christmas parties. Sales for October totalled just over $28,000, while sales for just the first half of November were $41,334 – including the annual Decatur Chamber of Commerce banquet and big events for ConocoPhillips and Pioneer Natural Resources. More than 60 events are already booked for the first four months of 2013, and with more than $54,000 on the books, no accounts are more than 90 days past due. Sherwood said almost all events are now required to pay in advance.
  • Police Chief Rex Hoskins, who noted total crime is up slightly over 2011, with most of the increase coming in property crimes such as theft and burglary – a sign of the economic times, he said. Traffic citations are up, but DWI arrests are down from 35 in 2011 to just 17 through October.
  • Main Street Director Frieda Hanley, who told the council about upcoming Christmas events in the city;
  • and Planning Director Dedra D. Ragland, who updated the council on the rewrite of the city’s Zoning Ordinance that began in October.

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