by nathan oster
The Town of Greybull’s utility customers will see increases in their monthly sewer and water rates starting next month — and a similar hike in their monthly sanitation assessment might not be far behind.
All of the changes — both those approved and those under consideration — stem from a rate analysis performed earlier this year to bring greater equity to the fees and to bring revenues more in line with expenditures in the town’s three primary enterprise funds.
The changes to the water and the sewer rates sailed through without opposition and take effect Jan. 1. But the proposed sanitation changes were different story, as low volume small business owners, in particular, questioned the fairness of a hike from $37.50 to $68.13 for three-times-per-week trash collections.
Those business owners asked for the town to consider establishing a rate for business that do not generate much trash and do not require three collections per week — and what Thur proposed on Monday night was a response to that request.
Using an across-the-board base rate of $24, Thur’s plan would establish a new C1 category for those businesses that require only one pickup per week. The rate would move to $33.50 for those low volume customers.
The residential sanitation rate, meanwhile, would be set at $30.75 for one collection per week.
The C3 category, for those businesses requiring three collections per week, would move to $69 — which would be 87 cents more than the $68.13 originally proposed.
The C5 category, for those businesses requiring five collections per week, would move to $101.
If approved, the new rate structure would bring in an estimated $365,000 per year — which is just a shade below this year’s budget of $366,275. The goal of the enterprise fund isn’t to turn a profit, but rather to break even.
Thur’s proposal offered no recommendations for businesses located within a single building or for those standalone businesses or residences with no other billing, as the council will be asked to decide those.
The proposed snowbird/inactive fee would be 55 percent of the monthly regular rate and would be in addition to the water and sewer snowbird/inactive rates. The proposal would charge home businesses the C1 rate and apartment owners a full residential rate for the complex plus another $18 per unit.
The council is expected to solicit public input on the proposed changes after the first of the year, with the hope being to implement them on March 1, 2016.
In other business Monday night:
- Police Chief Bill Brenner was unable to attend the meeting, but in his absence, Thur reported that Sgt. Greg Hess had resigned. Hess gave two weeks’ notice, making Dec. 28 his last day with the town.
- Public Works Director Dalen Davis discussed the changing recycling landscape. Powell Valley Recyling, which the town uses, shut down for the year on Dec. 11 and isn’t a sure bet to reopen in January. Davis said he’s been told it wasn’t profitable in 2015 and is looking for more help from the communities it serves. Davis said he looked into what Worland does in the area of recycling. The county, not the town, runs it and only paper and cardboard are accepted.
- The council agreed to seek public input on the naming of four streets in the industrial park.
- The council sold two of its excess vehicles, accepting a bid of $550 from Robert Good for a Chevy truck and a bid of $600 from Harvey Runyan for a Dodge truck. Five bids were received in all for the two vehicles.
- Scott Mattis was chosen to be the town’s voting delegate for the WAM convention in February.
- On another WAM note, the council agreed to contribute $1,000 for the sponsoring of a WAM convention planned for Cody. Unable to foot all the costs on its own, Cody asked for help from the surrounding area — and got a good response. Worland contributed $3,000, Powell $2,000, Lovell and Greybull $1,000, Meeteetse $500 and Manderson $250.
- The council agreed to advertise for bids for a Crown Victoria and a Dodge Charger that have been used by the police department. The GPD is getting three new vehicles, all of which are currently in Colorado being equipped for law enforcement use.
- The council is considering creating no-parking zones within 15 to 25 feet of every street corner. No action was taken on Monday night, but the council is expected to resume talks after the first of the year.
- Councilman Clay Collingwood provided an update on his bid to develop a soccer field in the Art Schutte Sports Complex. Collingwood has stated in the past that he believes a field is needed and that it could be done relatively inexpensively. He provided some preliminary numbers Monday night, suggesting a sprinkler system would cost around $7,000 plus another $3,000 for piping. He said he’d also spoken with airport manager Carl Meyer about the use of topsoil from the airport.
- The council also tabled a decision whether to seek bids to address a drainage issue near the high school.