City council approves demolition ordinance, hears from Doug Young on transfer station

Published 12:40 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Bainbridge City Council met for their monthly meeting Tuesday evening. After approving last month’s minutes and recognizing community visitors and delegations, the council heard five street closure requests. The first was from KGD Produce, requesting to close Water Street, from Broad Street to Clay Street, for an event, “East Water Street Market Day”; the second request was from Charsuede Keaton with Community United, to close portions of streets around Willis Park for the non-profit organization’s upcoming event on the square; the third and fourth requests were filed by city special event coordinator Randee Eubanks on behalf of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee, requesting to close lengths of multiple streets for the Bicentennial Parade and other festivities; and the final request came from the BHS Class of 1993, requesting to close Market Street, from Broad Street to Clark Street, for their class reunion at the Hook & Ladder.The council approved all the requests.

Following this, the council entered a public hearing on a demolition ordinance regarding 1701 Douglas Drive. This property was a house that had been burnt, with city manager Chris Hobby stating that the city had been working with the owner for “some time”, but that nothing had occurred. With no input from the community, the public hearing was closed and the ordinance was approved.

Next on the agenda, the council considered an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the county, regarding animal control services. The ten-year agreement states that the city will continue to be responsible for county-wide animal control, with the county making an annual payment of $400,000 for the services. According to Hobby, the agreement had already been approved by the county. The council likewise approved it.

Email newsletter signup

The council next heard a consideration of a resolution, regarding the national opiate litigation. “We have been successful in one part of that, and received our small portion of that settlement,” Hobby stated. This new resolution was another piece of the litigation, specifically settlements involving retail outlets such as Walgreens and Walmart, and would allow the city to receive a portion of the settlement. The council voted to adopt the resolution.

Next, the council heard two recommendations from planning commission director Steve O’Neil, regarding conditional use applications for two properties: one for a short-term rental, and the second for a livestock barn. These had both been approved by the planning commission, and the council did likewise.

Initially, Doug Young with Young Recycling & Dumpster Services was scheduled to make a special presentation, but due to technical difficulties, it was pushed back. As a result, city engineer Gabe Menendez spoke next, giving the council an update on various projects, including the Whigham Dairy water loop project, the sewer expansion project, as well as TSPLOST-funded projects. Menendez stated that the Chason Park project has “made a lot of progress”, and is expected to be open this summer.

After Menendez had finished, Young returned to deliver his presentation, which focused on difficulties that have faced Young Recycling & Dumpster Services since it began operating the city’s transfer station. According to Young, in February alone, the company suffered a loss of over $17,000 on city garbage. “Tom Conger sat up here and said, ‘This is a great gift to the city’, and that was an understatement,” Young said. The revenue generated by taking city garbage, as Young described, is exceeded by operating expenses. He continued to elaborate, saying that the city was currently paying roughly $32 per ton of trash; to break even in the months since acquiring the transfer station, Young stated they would have to have charged about $45 per ton, on average. Were the city to take over and operate the transfer station themselves, Young estimated that it would cost the city $48-$50 a ton. There were other issues with purchasing some needed equipment, such as garbage tippers, per the the county trash arrangement, with Young stating that the county did not want to purchase it.

To help deal with the equipment issues, Young clarified that he did not want the city to instead purchase or lease the tippers. He instead proposed raising the garbage tonnage rate, effective this billing cycle, from $32 to $47. “You’re still saving the taxpayers about $3,600 a month, than if you had to take it over yourself,” he said. “If we don’t have any maintenance, fees, anything really bad, we’ll make a whopping 3%, about $1,200 a month off hauling off your city garbage.”

There was some discussion between Young and the councilors over this garbage tipper issue, specifically some feeling that the county should be accommodating to Young and the transfer station’s needs, as part of the county trash collection agreement.

Ultimately the council decided to renegotiate the contract for the rates, which would be brought back before the council in April, and then back-dated to apply to the March billing cycle.

Next to last on the council’s agenda were mayoral appointments, including one appointment to the Downtown Development Authority, and several reappointments to the Downtown Bainbridge Development Authority. These were all approved.

And lastly, two bids were presented: one for a vacuum system from Vermeer Southeast, at $51,875, and the second for outdoor furniture for Chason Park, with a bid from Southern Poly Manufacturing, LLC, for $61,564.14. These were both approved.

Prior to the meeting’s adjournment, councilwoman Rosalyn Palmer requested the time for the council’s meeting next month be pushed back to 7:00 PM, so that the council would be able to participate in the Bicentennial ceremony. This was approved, and the meeting was adjourned.