By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Mike Murphy, who owns the Fran Mar apartment complex in Woodville, took the city council to task at its Monday night meeting. Murphy asked council to address the “injustice” of its trash pickup rates.
Murphy said he currently pays $390 each month for a two-yard Dumpster at the complex and does not understand why the city does not charge by volume.
Murphy said he also does not understand why the Dumpster, which is emptied twice each week, is charged at a rate that is different for apartments than
the existing residential rate.
City Administrator Mandy Risinger said the difference in trash pickup rates is between commercial and residential settings. Risinger said that although Dumpsters are typically reserved for commercial waste, they are provided as a courtesy for apartment complexes, but the rate still applies as a residential one, but with a discount factored in for apartments from the normal residential rate.
The rates, which were last changed in 2008, according to Risinger, are $19.25 per month for the standard residential rate and $15 per unit for apartments.
Risinger later explained that the discount was factored in due to the average difference between apartment units and houses.
Murphy said he gets the same service from Local Sanitation for $120 per month at a property he owns outside the city limits, however, city ordinance prevents him from using any waste management service than what the city provides.
Chance Cooper, who owns a trailer park within the city limits, also spoke on the issue. Cooper, along with Murphy, spoke about the trash rates at January’s city council meeting during the public forum portion of the meeting.
During that meeting Cooper said he did not understand increases in rates at his property. Risinger said she had some “bad news” for Cooper, as she’d looked at his property and found that he was paying for one unit instead of each unit within the park at the $19.25 residential rate.
“This situation is fair and equitable to what the rule is,” Risinger said.
“Fair and equitable doesn’t correlate here,” Cooper said.
Councilwoman Kelly Dillard said the ordinance on the books is what sets the different rates for property owners, depending on what type of property. Murphy urged the council to look at the ordinance and change it to be fairer to property owners.
“You can correct this injustice in my eyes. I’ve overpaid $10,000 already,” he said.
Resolution for CDBG grant application
Council approved a resolution that authorizes the city to submit an application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for a Community Development Block Grant for the fiscal year 2019-2020 funding cycle.
Risinger said the project the city would like to address with the money, if awarded, is to acquire a new bar screen at the sewer plant. She said that in the last funding cycle, the city was docked points and not funded, as it had been previously funded in another cycle; something that counted against it in the scoring criteria.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but this project would probably cost more than the grant fund is worth,” she said.
The amount of the grant is $275K. Risinger said there was money in the city’s enterprise fund to cover the difference as well as the match. An educated guess, she said, would put the project at between $350-450K.