Will recycling continue?

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By Carolyn Roy carolyn@natchitochestimes.com Mayor Lee Posey hopes to get input on whether to continue recycling during a public hearing on the garbage contract renewal Aug. 13. At the City Council meeting Monday, Posey said he will present four options, including their costs, that will address recycling and backdoor pickup. Posey said he is finding “no good answers” about recycling including potential markets since there is no profit in the practice. He is open to suggestions.

He asked council members to explore other avenues and has reached out to other communities about their recycling practices. He will explore solutions during the Louisiana Municipal Association meeting July 30-Aug. 2. He asked the council for its guidance relating to cleanup in the City saying his main emphasis at the last meeting was on litter and trash. But not it’s “rolling into” home exteriors, vacant lots and abandoned vehicles. Once enforcement of laws related to abandoned properties and vehicles begins, he would need the backing of the council for it to be effective.

“I say, follow the law,” District 3 Councilperson Sylvia Morrow told Posey. A vehicle in Morrow’s yard was tagged by the police department although she said it was operable and in good condition. “If it’s good for me, it’s good for others,” she said. Police Chief Micky Dove spoke of problems in tagging abandoned vehicles for removal. His department tagged six such vehicles at J.W. Thomas Apartments last week but the wrecker service could tow only two. Wrecker services must store the towed vehicles until they can obtain title. Yet they have limited storage. Dove termed it as “spinning our wheels.” There was a brief discussion of possibly storing the abandoned vehicles on City property. Morrow asked for cooperation from the City, USDA, Community Renewal and other entities to help with the cleanup. She has purchased signs she will give to homeowners who exhibit beautification efforts around their homes.

Morrow has asked for neighborhoods to form teams to unite individuals, churches, youth groups, businesses, civic groups and other partners. She wants to hold a public event to spotlight citizens with the most attractive lawns or buildings that have been improved. Those interested in working with Morrow can contact her at 352-6129 or 521-2713. Posey and Morrow clashed briefly when she distributed copies of Section 5:10 of the Home Rule Charter related to purchase of property, supplies and services. She was critical of the City purchasing vehicles in other places saying that local car dealers wanted the City to buy local. Posey said the City would buy from local dealers if they matched the State contract and they would be invited “again” to participate. She asked why the bids were not presented to the council for approval and wants to have the dealers attend a council meeting.

City Attorney Ronald Corkern said, after the meeting, that the public bid law does not apply to vehicles that are purchased on State Contract because the State has already negotiated the lowest price. Dealers often do not participate in the State Contracts because they realize higher profits when they sell to individuals. According to its website, the Office of State Procurement (OSP) serves the agencies and people of Louisiana by ensuring that the state’s contracting and purchasing activities are conducted legally, fairly and efficiently. OSP manages the purchasing of equipment, goods, supplies and operating services needed by state agencies.

The office researches, develops and issues both statewide and agency-specific contracts and competitively bids items not covered under annual contracts OSP strives to ensure a fair, competitive bidding environment for all vendors, while also ensuring that vendors have performed well in their contractual duties to state agencies and the public. In his report, Director of Finance Pat Jones said that the Tax Increment Fund (TIF) was up a “huge amount,” 29 percent, during April as reflected in the May Tax Commission Report. That is $176,801 more than the same period a year ago. The TIF tax is one collected on hotel and motel rooms.

The monthly collections fluctuate greatly, probably because of late vendor reports and tax challenges. Another favorable indicator in the sales tax report is that motor vehicle sales were up nearly 40 percent in the May report, a good change since they have been trending down for several months.