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Landfill, roads, airport discussed at David City Council budget meetings

Landfill, roads, airport discussed at David City Council budget meetings

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Though nothing is set in stone, members of the City of David Council discussed solutions for rising garbage bills and ordinance enforcement at two meetings about the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Mayor Alan Zavodny brought up the rising cost of garbage bills for city residents – himself included.

One solution to keep garbage bills down may involve having one hauler come to take away recycling and garbage for the entire city.

"Right now each resident is responsible for securing a trash service for their home or business," City Administrator Clayton Keller said.

The three haulers that currently operate in David City, Keller said, are Triple S Services, Waste Connections and U & I Sanitation.

The David City Recycling Center has been closed since December, but before that it was responsible for the city’s recycling.

At the Council’s June 17 budget meeting, Keller said there are communities about David City’s size which have one hauler take garbage and recycling.

"The City contracts with one company to do the garbage service for the entire town, and then the city charges the residents a flat rate each month to cover the cost of that contract,” Keller said.

Keller said that may be more affordable than the price most people in David City are currently paying for garbage.

Right now, some of David City’s garbage is being taken to the nearby Butler County Landfill. The landfill may fill up by 2024, at which point it would have to close. As a result, fees for use are going up.

In 2019, Waste Connections – the owner of the Butler County Landfill – lobbied the Butler County Board of Supervisors to let the landfill purchase an additional 160 acres of land, but the request was denied. Soon after, the landfill’s per-ton dump rates shot up by $30.

“What they had to do is make deals with some of their bigger customers that they earn much more revenue off of to guarantee them space. So we fell down the priority list a ways,” Zavodny said.

Zavodny, who uses Waste Connections, said his garbage bill has nearly doubled in price.

Board members cited alternative waste sites and problems with garbage falling out of haulers on county roads when they voted against the landfill expansion last year.

The City of David City Council also talked about the pros and cons of creating and filling a city government position to enforce city ordinances dealing with junked cars and lawn care, among others. The council did not come to a final decision, however.

“That would be an extremely difficult position to fill. It almost needs a law enforcement-type background,” Councilman Skip Trowbridge said. “But yes, we are investigating taking that position internally and that would have some effect on the sheriff’s office negotiation.”

If David City hired someone in that capacity, the Butler County Sheriff’s office would no longer be responsible for enforcing city ordinances. As a result, Trowbridge said, the city would expect to contribute less to the sheriff’s office each year. Currently, the city pays $285,000 and contributes to a new vehicle every other year.

In other business, the council debated whether or not to pay for a new fuel system to attract private plan owners to the David City Municipal Airport.

“It would attract more people to our airport in general. Not only to bring private plane owners in to use our hangars, to rent our hangars, but it would bring more revenue in fuel sales in general. We’d have more traffic if we have this new fuel system,” Chris Kroesing with the David City Airport, Recycling, and Street Department, said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will cover most of the cost of a new fuel system, and grant money from the CARES Act will take care of another $20,000. Keller said the city would essentially pay $12,500 for a brand new fuel system that would otherwise cost upwards of $300,000.

Another topic that came up concerning the airport was the need to address several old hangers that are in disrepair. The hangars are on the FAA’s list for improvement for 2024, but at the meeting Keller said they may not last that long.

To qualify for FAA assistance, the airport must have 10 plane hangars. Half of them, Kroesing said, are old. But repairing the dilapidated hangars would mean tearing them down for a time, which would jeopardize the airport’s qualification for FAA assistance.

The council also discussed the need to address the quality of roads in town, especially O Street. The street needs to be repaved and have its curbs and gutters done, but that would cost more than $1 million.

Keller said the city may have a more final draft of the budget by late August or early September. Until then, discussion will continue.

Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at molly.hunter@lee.net.

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