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Sanitation recommendations unofficially pushed back

 

Chief Administrative Officer Taylor Adams, background, asks aldermen for additional time to study possible cost-saving maneuvers within Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services. Aldermen previously tasked Adams and department Director Emma Gandy, foreground, with comprehensive studies on potentially outsourcing sanitation duties, but the board effectively granted Adams’ request by taking no action on the matter Tuesday.

Chief Administrative Officer Taylor Adams, background, asks aldermen for additional time to study possible cost-saving maneuvers within Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services. Aldermen previously tasked Adams and department Director Emma Gandy, foreground, with comprehensive studies on potentially outsourcing sanitation duties, but the board effectively granted Adams’ request by taking no action on the matter Tuesday. Photo by: Mary Alice Weeks/Dispatch Staff

 

Carl Smith

 

Starkville aldermen unofficially delayed receipt of recommendations on possibly outsourcing the city's sanitation services Tuesday after Chief Administrative Officer Taylor Adams and department head Emma Gandy asked for more time to study internal, cost-saving measures. 

 

Adams and Gandy were previously tasked with developing proposals for outsourcing landscaping duties and overall departmental functions after Gandy asked the three-person Starkville Audit and Budget Committee in April for an additional $233,000 in revenues -- or what about 1.25 mills of ad valorem revenue bring into the city's coffers -- for Fiscal Year 2014-2015. The duo was also tasked with studies researching the feasibility of moving to tipper bins and to see if the city could negotiate a better contract with Waste Management or a secondary deal for recycling processing. 

 

Adams told aldermen the two drafts were prepared, but he and Gandy could continue to crunch the numbers in an attempt to find financial savings internally without outsourcing sanitation services. The chief administrative officer asked to re-approach the budget committee within 90 days with his findings. 

 

Specifically, Adams said early estimates show the city could save about $50,000 by simply hauling its own recycling collections to Tupelo for processing instead of paying Waste Management's fee. 

 

Starkville aldermen took the report under advisement Tuesday without any formal action. 

 

Last year, aldermen approved a $1.50 rate increase after Gandy requested a $3 hike. Even with the additional $180,000 in revenues, the department needs extra funding to cover garbage bag distribution, equipment and consultation costs, she said in April. 

 

Budget committee members then signaled their unwillingness to support another rate hike. 

 

Ward 6 Alderman and budget committee member Roy A. Perkins warned sanitation employees in that meeting that if they do not work a full eight hours per day, they will lose their jobs. The vice mayor said in April he does not believe all of the department's laborers are working a full day. 

 

Gandy's handling of garbage bag disbursements also drew Perkins' ire in April. The sanitation department switched to a thinner bag last year, and disbursements were also delayed. 

 

Even with the change, Gandy's department was $16,000 over budget with that specific line item as of Feb. 28. Her April budget proposal asked for an additional $50,000 to offset costs and allow the department to disburse thicker bags.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

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