Hamburg City Council members approved a $2 garbage rate increase during last week’s meeting. The proposed increase was mentioned during a previous council meeting. Council also discussed bids on the walking trail at Norman Park and on possible street repairs as well as the possibility of updating nuisance ordinances.
Mayor Dane Weindorf said that Hamburg is in really good shape financially and had actually seen an increase in tax revenue that he attributed to more people shopping at home and fewer people traveling in general.
“As bad as this thing has been for everyone, if it keeps bringing the city together well then we find the rainbow in the storm,” Weindorf said. “I feel very strongly about our financial situation,” he added.
Though Hamburg appears stable financially, Weindorf said he felt the garbage increase was still necessary to keep the city in good financial condition and to take care of the street and sanitation employees.
“You know we think of first responders as police and fire, but we need to remember our employees are first responders here, too,” he said. “The water people, sanitation people, the street people, they have not missed a lick and you can count on that every Monday and Wednesday your garbage will be picked up.”
The rates have not increased since 2009, when they increased from $12 to $14. This time they will increase from $14 to $16.
“If you run the city like a business, you have to adjust for increases and you can’t do that by cutting back,” Weindorf said.
The mayor said he gets compliments regularly on how well the street and sanitation department works and he wants to take care of those workers so they will continue to take care of the residents.
“I firmly believe that Hamburg will always be a desired place to live because of the way we keep our community. It’s clean and we have good services for people and I want to keep it that way.”
The council passed the rate increase unanimously and an ordinance was adopted making the new rates $16 for residential service.
The commercial rate was set with a formula using $6.05 times the number of pickups and minutes per pickup with the minimum amount being $16 per month.
Bids for the walking trail near Norman Park were already opened before the meeting and Weindorf announced that they were higher than expected. The project, he added, would have to be amended to fit the budget.
Weindorf said the lowest bid came in at $149,000, which was $29,000 over budget.
The mayor said that the lowest bidder was T&T Construction from Dumas and that the other bid amounts were much higher at $172,000, $189,000 and $260,000.
Still open for bidding is a street repair project within the city.
Council authorized the mayor to start seeking bids to upgrade some city roads including Gardner Street. There are several streets that are really bad, according to Weindorf, but he added that Gardner Street is the worst. It runs from the old Crossett Highway to Lincoln Street. The mayor also mentioned areas on Jackson Street and Hickory Street that need to be repaired.
This year’s budget included $100,000 for roads though Weindorf said he is expecting everything that needs to be done will cost closer to $160,000.
Council also discussed updating the city ordinances to encourage people to keep their yard cleans and not store things such as inoperable automobiles on their property.
City Attorney Paul Keith recommended that council host a public hearing to hear from the public on the matter. The mayor said the city would work on putting something together to allow the public to speak on the matter.