JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
As the end of the budget year nears for Jefferson City, the budget committee will consider no longer paying for public yard waste removal services.
This comes after lots of back and forth over which company should get next years contract.
In a budget meeting Thursday, Ward 3 councilwoman Erin Wiseman noted she would like to see compost completely taken out of the budget. She tells ABC 17 there will be a vote at Monday's budget meeting.
"I think that we should put that money into something better this year," Wiseman said at Thursday's budget meeting. "I prefer not to put it into compost this year, I just think that we have other, larger items that need our attention."
The council voted Tuesday to seek an extension with the current site, All Seasons Landscaping, with Wiseman and Ward 5 councilmen Jon Hensley and Mark Schwartz being the only members to vote no.
The council would like to see a one-year contract for the same price, but Ward 3 Councilman Scott Spencer said they are still waiting to hear terms from All Seasons Landscaping. He said the company could come back and ask for more money, or more than one year.
"We're just waiting on those numbers to come back," Spencer said. "If they're within reason, we'll take a vote to see if that will be approved."
The city paid All Seasons a little over $200,000 for the final year of its contract, which expires Oct. 31, according to city council records.
Schwartz said he voted no on the extension because he doesn't like the idea of a no bid contract. He said the only way he'll support the extension is if All Seasons Landscaping will stay in the same contract for another year.
Schwartz also said he plans to vote with Wiseman on Monday to take compost out of the city budget. He said there is lots of need in Jefferson City and the budget is tight.
"I think that the main priority of government is the public safety, as well as infrastructure of roads," Schwartz said. "I think we'd be better off spending the $200,000 a year on equipment and things like that."
He thinks composting would be more effective if someone in the private sector took on the task. He said residents who would like to do so could then pay for services themselves, or take advantage of open burning.
Korte Tree Care initially won the bid for the next fiscal year, but the council voted unanimously Tuesday to deny that contract, largely due to safety concerns. The site is located on Cedar City Drive, which would require people to drive across the bridge with their yard waste.
"I have received quite a few calls and emails that these folks had a real concern driving across the bridge, and in case something blew off their truck or their trailer, there's no shoulders to pull on to the sides," Spencer said.
Schwartz said he voted to deny the contract for the same reason.
"We all know that bridge, when there's a wreck on it, it backs up traffic for miles," Schwartz said. "The thought that people hauling lawn debris across the bridge and if it falls off, it could start a massive pile up."
Another reason both councilmen cited to deny the contract included inconvenient operating hours.
Korte's five-year contract was for a little over $1 million. All Seasons was asking the city in its bid for a bit more than $1.3 million for five years.
However, both Schwartz and Spencer said they are confident a deal will be reached before the end of the budget year on Oct. 31.
In hindsight, Schwartz said he would have liked to see the council take a step back and allow for Korte Tree Care to offer a new location, which would then restart the bidding process. Spencer said going forward, he would like to see the bidding process reopened with more council representation.