In fact, voters aren’t likely to decide on the issue any time soon because City Manager Mike Selden told the City Council Monday evening that attorneys advised him such a question should be settled by the counil instead of at the ballot box.
“I was told we cannot place that proposal on the ballot,” Selden said. “The council by itself has that authority. The only way it could go to a vote is by petition of the people.”
The council intended to place the question of the ballot May 5 in a state-wide election on a one-cent sales tax increase to fund roads. Using that election date would not cost the city any additional money because an election already has been deemed necessary by the State Legislature not being able to reach a decision on funding for roads statewide.
The city last summer came up with a proposal to offer all waste hauling services to the the lowest bidder. There are more than a half dozen haulers now doing business within the city limits, which some city officials ans residents maintain causes congestion and more damage to the streets with so many operating on least four days per week.
Right now, Republic, Arrowwaste, Sunset, Everkept, Potter’s, Waste Management and Farmer’s Disposal can be found picking up refuse in the city on weekdays.
After the city proposed that just one service be hired at the lowest price, a firestorm of protests erupted at a City Council meeting in July. Many of the residents and some haulers who protested insisted the move would be restraint of business and customers’ choice.
So the city backed off the proposal, but Councilwoman Jennifer Antel came up with a proposal to let the issue come to a vote. She said she was keenly aware of the sentiments of those who showed up to protest, but wasn’t sure about the wishes of a majority in the community. So when the opportunity to put the issue before voters in the May 5 state-wide election, the city made preparations to get a proposal on the ballot.
That no longer will be the plan.
The city manager said when he advertised for bids, Republic came in with the lowest price, and he asked company officials how much costs would be for a five-year contract.
Councilman Ron Kobish said to Selden, “So basically it’s our decision.”
Selden replied that the council could put forward a proposal for one trash hauler in the form of a proposed ordinance, but that isn’t likely.