by Alan McArthur
Commercial dumpster service in Platte City may be a thing of the pastas of the end of April. The board of aldermen on Tuesday night voted 4-2 to approve an ordinance confirming their desire to privatize the dumpster service for the city, which will eventually eliminate positions for two public works employees.
The proposal sets a deadline for ending the service by Sunday, April 27 and sets a schedule to keep the two employees working for the public works and parks departments until September.
“We have a March 30 date or the end of April option to end the service,” said Keith Moody, city administrator. “We need to have time to let businesses set up contracts and city codes need to be changed.”
One of the major concerns for the aldermen has been the employment of the two employees.
“What about the two employees?” asked Andy Stanton, alderman.
“We can keep them employed until Sept. 12 to cover some seasonal positions,” said Moody.
The ordinance outlines that the two employees will continue to draw their same salaries and benefits until Sept. 12 drawing the seasonal wages from the public works and parks departments.
During the discussion, Mayor Dave Brooks told the board what he thinks about the issue of dumpster service.
“I'm not here for an increase in residential rates, people have enough expenses in this town,” said Brooks. “I would think as busy as Leonard (Hendricks, public works director) is and the guys in public works, you know, Leonard's job is as supervisor, but he is also a doer and could use some help.”
“I think your lobbying effort needs to stop. This isn’t about Leonard,” interrupted Aaron Jung, alderman.
Brooks reiterated that he thinks the city would be able to keep the employees on the payroll.
“And that's all I have to say about that,” said Brooks.
“I don't think anyone takes joy in laying off employees,” said Jung. “Is it more fair for businesses to pay more? Should businesses pay more or residents pay more?”
“I've already made my statement,” responded Brooks.
Another alderman stated his opinion on the issue.
“I think it's unfair for businesses to pay unfair rates, but I certainly don't like to see people lose their jobs,” said Todd Sloan, alderman.
“Sometimes doing the right thing is not the easy thing,” said Stanton.
Some members of the public works staff were in the audience and asked who would be laid off from work.
“The two least senior staff members would be let go,” said Moody. “(The wage estimate) is the most accurate estimate based on policies.”
Alderman Ron Stone expressed his concern with having to lay off the employees.
“I think we're being forced to make a decision on one way out of commercial dumpster service,” said Stone. “Is there another way?”
“The other option is to reduce the dumpster tip fees, but we'd have to offset it with an increase elsewhere,” said Moody.
Moody had previously provided the aldermen with a proposal which would reduce the tip fees, but would cause a residential rate increase of $0.90 per month.
Before the board voted on the issue a member of the audience stood up and addressed the board.
“Only three or four businesses have come up here,” said Daniel Stamper, public works employee. “I've talked with some business owners who want to keep the service. I don't think it's fair to have three or four businesses come in here and decide.”
Another member of the audience then stood up and addressed the board.
“People Wise will work with these employees,” said Kevin Robinson, of People Wise, a human resources consulting firm located in Platte City. “We will find employment for the two individuals at no cost.”
The board then voted on whether to approve the ordinance confirming the aldermen's desire to privatize commercial dumpster service.
The ordinance passed with a vote of 4-2. Aldermen Marsha Clark and Ron Stone voted against the ordinance. Voting in favor were Aaron Jung, Andy Stanton, Kenneth Brown, and Todd Sloan.
The board also heard a presentation from Robert Saunders of Organization Consultants about their services in helping the city find a new city administrator. The board will hear another presentation from Kevin Robinson of People Wise at a special meeting next Tuesday at 6 p.m. A decision on whether or not to use a recruitment firm has not been made.
The board approved the lease of a new Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle for the Platte City Police Department. The lease amount was more than twice the lease for 2007. The original lease was $500, but was increased to $800 two years ago and is now at $1,650 for 2008.
The board approved the lease with a vote of 5-1. Stanton voted against renewing the lease.