The Sedalia City Council approved 2014 tax rates and discussed charges for excessive debris for the city’s pick up on demand program during a Monday work session.
Council members voted unanimously to increase the all purpose tax rate to 1.8995 per $100 of valuation; the levy outside special business district but within the library district at 1.0495; and 0.7535 outside both special business and library districts.
“What that translates to is the average homeowner on an $81,000 house would be paying $6.78 based on this proposed increase,” said City Administrator Gary Edwards.
No members of the public spoke either for or against the increase, which Edwards described as “minimal.”
Following the tax hearing, council heard from Public Works Director Bill Beck, who suggested council may consider levying a charge of $22.88 per cubic yard for debris amounts that exceed the two pick ups of two cubic yards each the city currently provides for free.
“Two cubic yards is about a pickup load, and you are allowed that twice a year,” Beck said of the program, which began in February of 2013 as an alternative to the citywide spring and fall cleanups.
Beck said the program has proven popular among residents and most people adhere to basic rules for amount and types of debris the city can dispose of.
While he did not have specific amounts, Beck said requests for the program have increased along with the savings the city enjoys through the on-demand program.
“The bigger problem for us is the rule for how much we are allowing. Some people put out an excessive amount,” Beck said, sharing photos of a rental property with an estimated eight to 10 cubic yards of material - from mattresses to construction waste - left at the curb.
Beck said city workers try and work with residents and “try to be pretty lenient with people,” but he believes “the best solution is to charge for excessive material.
“People are liking it and it has saved us a lot of money, but this (excess debris) is a problem for us,” Beck said, believing that much of the excess loads come from rental property owners cleaning out homes after renters move out.
The $22.88 per two cubic yard load charge is based on the cost of labor, fuel and landfill fees. Beck said city workers would assess the amount of material after a resident called to request a pick up, then would have the resident pay the additional fee at city hall before hauling away the material.
“At that rate we wouldn’t make anything off of that,” Beck said.
Council members seemed to agree that the city should break even on the cost of debris disposal and were open to a recommended change to the city ordinance, which currently does not allow for a charge for excess debris.
Beck did not have a specific date but expects to bring a draft ordinance to council for consideration soon.