Attention, Bossier City!

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Councilman wants more public notice on trash fee increase

Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting was occasion for a rarity – the lack of a unanimous vote prevented the addition of an item to the Council’s agenda.

District 3 Council member Don “Bubba” Williams cast the lone vote against adding an agenda item that would have introduced an ordinance to increase in solid waste collection fees effective December 1, 2013.

This item will appear on the Council’s agenda for its August 20 meeting – along with introduction of a companion ordinance to authorize Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker to enter into a contract with Republic Services of Shreveport for solid waste collection services. This item was on the Council’s Tuesday agenda, but was continued to be discussed on August 20 with the fee increase ordinance.

After the meeting, Williams explained why he voted not to add the fee increase ordinance introduction at Tuesday’s meeting. Williams said he believes that the public needs to know that this proposed ordinance is up for discussion – and that simply adding it to Tuesday’s agenda was not enough public notice of the Council’s consideration of raising solid waste collection fees.

Williams is right; the public should have longer notice of the Council’s deliberation of this issue – so readers of this column can count this as a small notice that at its August 20 regular meeting, the Council will introduce ordinances to that will provide a new solid waste collection service for Bossier City, as well as increase the fees for that service. Two weeks later, Council members – absent some serious reason why they shouldn’t – will adopt both ordinances.

It’s been a couple of months since a review of a City Council solid waste services workshop, held in early May, was detailed in this space – a brief refresher is offered for those who missed it …

Bossier City’s contract with Shreveport for solid waste services will expire in November 2013 – a circumstance that generated much study by city administrators starting in the fall of 2011. Shreveport wasn’t responsive on renewing the contract, so Bossier City issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for solid waste services. Several companies responded and the city’s Solid Waste Committee spent months narrowing the field and studying alternate proposals provided by the responding companies.

At the May workshop, city Public Works Director Gary Neathery explained that the new contract will provide solid waste collection service that is “built around (the) current program with minimum changes …”

As noted in that May column, it’s likely that most Bossier City residents will only notice one element of the city’s new solid waste program – the increase in cost of the service – which would have occurred whether Shreveport remained the service provider, or a private contractor was selected for the new contract.

Solid waste collection service for residential users would increase from a flat rate of $8 per month to $16 per month.

That service is billed on each resident’s water bill – and currently shows up as a $16 charge, which is somewhat confusing because that $16 actually includes more than the monthly solid waste charge. According to city Finance Director Joe Buffington, of the $16 currently billed, $8 is for solid waste service — and $8 is for Public Services, which include herbicide/mosquito control, street sweeping, and animal control.

Therefore, with the proposed $8 increase in solid waste service, the new total for all of the above would be $24.

Residents interested in expressing an opinion on either or both of these Tuesday, August 20 City Council agenda items – the new contract, or the rate increase – are invited to be present at the Council meeting when these items are introduced.

 

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