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Solid waste dept. future undecided

The mayor and aldermen are planning a special meeting next weekto discuss the city’s struggling solid waste operation.

“We’ve got a major decision to make on solid waste,” said Ward 4Alderman Bob Massengill during last night’s meeting.

The board scheduled the meeting for Tuesday at 5 p.m. A solidwaste consultant and representatives of private garbage companiesmay be invited to attend.

The city’s solid waste operation has been losing money for yearsand aldermen are now considering going to privatization. In a tightbudget last year, aldermen laid off some solid waste employees andabandoned commercial garbage service.

City Clerk Iris Rudman said the solid waste operation was theonly city budget in bad shape. She indicated an equipment problemcould bankrupt the department.

“We’re broke if we have a break down in solid waste,” Rudmansaid.

City officials have begun budget work for the new fiscal yearthat starts Oct. 1. The solid waste decision will factor in budgetactions.

“If we’re going to change, we’ve got to know before hand,” saidMayor Bill Godbold.

Aldermen are also weighing a decision on whether to renew acontract with Waste Management for leasing of the transfer stationthat is owned jointly by the city and county. Supervisors havealready approved the contract renewal.

Board members want to explore why a provision calling for $2,500rent to the city and county was removed from the new contract threeyears ago. If that provision is re-inserted, City Attorney JoeFernald said the contract may have to be re-advertised.

LIBRARY UPDATE

In other business during an eventful meeting, Lincoln Countylibrary officials presented their budget request for the newyear.

Director Henry Ledet discussed the library’s completed expansionand additional needs, including more computers. He said an averageof 250 people a day are using the library, and 10,500 items werechecked out in June.

“We really have gotten an increase since we enlarged thelibrary,” Ledet said.

The library’s request for next year is $91,000, which is $2,000more than it received this year, Ledet said. The request was takenunder advisement for consideration during budget work later.

Also, aldermen approved renewing the city’s employee drugtesting policy with Carr and Associates. At $28 per test, Kim Carrsaid there would be a small reduction in employee drug screeningcosts.

DRUG TESTING

Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson asked whether aldermencould be included under the drug-testing plan. He said cityemployees are part of if and indicated it would be good for theboard to be included also.

Other officials said the board was not covered, but Godbold saidWilson was welcome to offer a sample for testing.

“You can go down there any time you want to and give one,”Godbold told the alderman.

City Clerk Iris Rudman said the contract cover city employeeswho may drive vehicles and does not include the mayor or aldermen.To include them would take a board resolution and re-advertisingthe contract.