By Teresa Holloway
Three residents addressed the Crockett City Council during the "Public Comments" portion of the meeting Monday, Aug. 24.
John Jenkins, a Crockett business owner, addressed several concerns, notably commercial trash rates for business owners when Progressive Waste Solution takes over collection.
Regarding commercial trash, Mayor Robert Meadows said, "Rates will not change," Meadows said.
"If you choose to add your cardboard to your trash stream in your dumpster, it will increase by $114," he added.
"You can continue to keep it outside. Progressive will pick it up once per week for $35 extra per month," Meadows said.
"Here's the issue, though. The city as a whole has been undercharging commercial rates for years. The residential rates have been keeping it propped up. The maximum it will increase next year will be four percent, and only if the Consumer Pricing Index allows for that increase," he explained.
The only price variation comes in if you decide to add your cardboard to the trash stream or continue to bundle it, Meadows recapped.
Jenkins raised questions about the planned rewriting of the city charter. He asked which charter the council plans to rewrite, the April 1964 version or the 1997 version.
Meadows responded the most recent version is the one they will use.
"It will be brought up to date and brought up to all the legal aspects. There are some things in there that are outdated and no longer apply by federal guidelines. All of it will be cleaned up and updated. Everything going forward will be aligned with federal guidelines in the entire charter," Meadows said. "That will be done periodically after that, according to our expert," he added.
"We are hoping to get our city on a regularly scheduled revision, so we are not bringing back a dinosaur every time," he continued.
"Each of the council members will ask two members of their precincts to be on the committee. The mayor chooses three. That's not my choice. That's the guidelines from which the whole process takes place," Meadows explained.
"The committee solicits feedback from the public and brings back recommendations from which the professional charter reviser works with them. No recommendations are accepted outside federal guidelines," he added.
Meadows continued, "After the committee brings recommendations, and the revisions are complete, it will go before the people for a vote."
Lilly Caster, who identified herself as an apartment manager, expressed displeasure with the council's recent choice of Progressive Waste Solutions over ProStar Waste.
With regards to the council's choice not to include yard waste pick-up, Caster verbalized concern for residents that don't have a pickup truck to use for hauling off their yard waste.
Caster questioned the capital outlay items recently approved by the budget, including foaming the roof of the city maintenance barn and purchasing an SUV for the police department. She also complained about a water leak on Easy and Grace Streets.
"One thing about the foam roof," Meadows said. "Those people don't get to leave (the maintenance barn)," he said.
"They do have fans out there, but it makes very little difference. It's a tough place to work. Those sweet spots in the spring and fall, they look forward to that. When it's summertime, it's an oven. When it's cold, it's really cold!" Meadows emphasized.
"There may have been some misinformation about that. Those guys don't get to travel around. The maintenance barn is where they work," he added.
Billy Groves, who lost his bid for mayor in the May election, commended the city council for tackling the city's financial challenges. He also commended Crockett Public Library Director James Sutton for filming council meetings and posting them on YouTube. Groves additionally made a plea for more transparency from the council.
During the public hearing for the proposed 2015 tax rate, Caster said, "We are in trouble. We are going to have to do something to pay for it."
"We have to do what we have to do," she said.