‘How are we going to pay for this?’
Mayor looks to West Memphis city officials for funding options on new trash receptacles
City Council opted for new garbage cans for residential customers all across the town. The bins include a microchip and will cost $47.38 through a procurement company. The electronic sensor records when the can was picked up and tipped, providing sanitation department accountability to city customers. The increased fee was approved by city council and another $1.25 will be added to bills starting May 20.
The new fees bringing curbside garbage service to West Memphis were set to pay off the new cans in about 18 months and support Dumpster repairs and replacements, but the mayor came hat in hand to the May public works commission looking for a way to pay the expected initial $207,000 bill for the bins.
“Do you all have an idea of how we are going to pay for these?” asked Mayor Marco McClendon. “It’s 207…some thousand.”
The mayor heard more questions but no answers from the city council decision makers.
“How much will it bring in?” asked Councilman James Pulliaum.
“It will pay off in about a year and a half,” said McClendon.
Public Works Chair City Councilwoman Lorraine Robinson worried the fee would go on even after the pay off for the new set of bins. She echoed her question when city council approved the ordinance for the rate increase on April 18.
“Will we have a sunset?”
“Yes,” said McClendon, “we can sunset part of it.”
Pulliaum said some of the increase would have to stay on the books to keep up with maintaining bins and Dumpsters.
“We really need to set some of it in depreciation for to be able to fix things,” said Pulliaum. “We don’t need the whole thing, but we need to keep the equipment going. We will need it for that account. It won’t be used for anything else, only for that.”
The mayor wanted to know if he should borrow from the bank or the utility department. Sanitation already owes the utility more than $300,000 for charge off debts.
“How are we going to pay for this?” repeated McClendon. “What is the direction the city council wants me to move on this?
Do you want me to got to the utility or get a loan?”
“It’s a matter of interest,” said Pulliaum.
“I was wanting a recommendation from public works,” insisted McClendon.
“Should we see what the city financial director recommends?” asked Robinson. “The newspaper doesn’t have to say what we want because we haven’t really said anything.
We know you need it. All in favor of adjourning?”