Council to Vote on Solid Waste Fee

By Bill Dries

Memphis City Council members are scheduled to take a final vote Tuesday, Oct. 1, on raising the city’s monthly solid waste fee to $25.05.

Raising the fee to what it was before the July 1 start of the current fiscal year would put into motion plans by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration to change over several years the way the city handles solid waste pickup.

The City Council will vote on raising the city’s monthly solid waste fee to $25.05. The fee increase would enable the city to move ahead with buying new garbage vehicles.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

With the fee increase, the city would move ahead with buying the first new garbage vehicles to replace vehicles that are in some cases 17 or 18 years old. The routes of sanitation crews would be changed to add 100 more daily stops for each crew.

And with savings from those changes and others, the city would finance a monthly retirement supplement of up to $1,000 for sanitation workers.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

Follow the meeting on Twitter at @tdnpols.

The council delayed action on the ordinance several times because of questions some members have about the retirement supplement, which is part of an agreement worked out between the administration and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents sanitation workers.

Council members will talk over those issues and others surrounding the plan during the 2 p.m. executive session.

In committee sessions earlier in the day Tuesday, the council budget committee gets its first look at two bond resolutions. One authorizes the issuance of up to $225 million of general improvement refunding bonds. The second is the issuance of up to $150 million in general obligation bonds for public works projects. The committee meets at 9 a.m. Just before that, at 8:45 a.m., another council committee goes over the details of a $3 million appropriation from bond money for an anti-blight initiative.

It is one of several anti-blight initiatives Wharton has advanced during his tenure as mayor.

The full council votes at its 3:30 p.m. session on a resolution that would establish an inner-city economic development fund for the fees that developers who receive payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentives have been paying for several years.

The money has been accumulating to the tune of more than $600,000 so far through a fee equal to 5 percent of personal property taxes abated, up to $50,000.

The resolution transfers $508,000 to start the fund through the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine.

The council also votes Tuesday on allocating $1.5 million in capital funding for a renovation of Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

During a committee discussion last month about the funding, Super District councilwoman Janis Fullilove said Wharton’s administration was ready to move forward. But council member Harold Collins, whose district also includes the mall, said the administration told him it was not ready to move ahead with funding the mall, which is directly across the street from Southland Mall and adjacent to the Whitehaven Kroger under renovation.

Fullilove’s Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division committee, which meets at 11:15 a.m., will discuss the opt-out option for the utility’s Smart Meter program. The council last month approved an expansion of the use of the meters.