Home Opinion Other Opinion City Council Quizzes Director About Collection Fee Increase

City Council Quizzes Director About Collection Fee Increase

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Marty Carlson

Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting was the occasion for the introduction of two ordinances concerning city solid waste collection: the first to increase the monthly collection fee, and the second to authorize Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker to enter into a contract with Republic Services of Shreveport for solid waste collection.

If the absence of any public comment – due to the lack of any public participation at the meeting — is any indication, Bossier City residents don’t have any issues with the $8 per month increase for weekly solid waste collection.

There was, however, discussion of the issue. Council member Jeff Darby quizzed Public Works Director Gary Neathery regarding the amount of the monthly residential fee increase, and was particularly interested in why the increase couldn’t be a gradual one. Neathery, who had addressed this point at a May workshop on the contractor change and related fee increase, again reviewed the need to build a small reserve to cover expected service cost increases — such as the price of fuel.

And there was a good bit of merit to Neathery’s suggestion that while there could be a gradual increase, that scenario would simply mean the Council’s agenda would include an item to increase the fee down the road.

Neathery also took time to review the process by which the new contractor was selected, and a few details about the new trucks that will be servicing city routes five days a week (instead of the current four days), the fact that the trucks will be CNG fueled – and that large yard waste and items such as furniture and “white goods” will continue to be picked up.

Council member Tim Larkin wrapped up the discussion saying he found the process to select a new contractor, which largely was conducted by Neathery, a “logical, diligent way” to put a new solid waste contractor in place.

“I’m real satisfied with the process,” Larkin said.

And with the exception of Darby’s “no” vote on the fee increase, the Council – and apparently the Bossier City public – agrees with Larkin’s observation.

But just in case there are any public dissatisfaction with the Council’s position on the issue, public comment can be made at the Council’s September 2 meeting.

On another subject, there also seems to be little public dissatisfaction with the Bossier Parish School Board’s decision to increase Superintendent D.C. Machen’s salary to come better in line with that of area parish Superintendent’s compensation.

Still necessarily lower that that of the Caddo Parish school superintendent, Machen’s salary will now be comparable to that of school district superintendents in DeSoto and Bienville Parishes – both of which, incidentally, have far smaller systems.

Most will agree that the chief of the school systems in any parish have a major responsibility, and Bossier is certainly no exception. Consider what’s involved in managing the physical plants at over three dozen school campuses, a major transportation system, a major food service system, responsibility for the safety and education of nearly 20,000 children – as well as one of the largest employers in the parish … and you have the equal of a CEO position in the business world.

The salary increase, the first for Machen since he was appointed in 2009, and extension of his contract through 2016, was a good business move by the BPSB. It ensures fair compensation for Machen’s substantial responsibilities and continuity through what’s likely one of the BPSB’s largest capital construction projects in the history of the system.

Marty Carlson is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. She may be reached via email at m_carlso@bellsouth.net