By Paige Nash
The Board of Alderman of the City of Springhill approved to raise the garbage pick-up rate from the previous amount of $15 to $20 at their February meeting. This decision followed the presentation of the 2022 audit report at the January meeting.
Vickie Case, CPA with Cook and Morehart presented the 2022 Audit Report. Upon conclusion of the audit, Case mentioned the business activity fund which consists of the city’s Water and Sewer Fund. She recommended that Mayor Ray Huddleston and the board consider raising the water and sewer rates with an increase every year to keep up with the current operating costs, noting that the current rates are not self-sustainable.
Knights Services La, LLC is the current contracted business responsible for trash collection within the city limits. Knights Services recently took over the Sarepta Transfer/Receiving Station at Wenks Landing following the sale of the Webster Parish Landfill (by the Webster Parish Police Jury) to Republic Services.
Some residents of Springhill have made statements regarding the decision passed by the mayor and board to increase this cost of service.
“The board of Aldermen approved the rate increase based upon the recommendation of City Hall. What should have been said is that the current rate that Knights Services is charging per can and the rest of that $20 is administrative fees. Fees paid for such things as the wages of the person collecting the money,” said Springhill resident Reva Rice. “I realize everything has gone up but on the backs of about 2,044 water paying citizens, garbage is mandatory so we cannot opt out, we are paying for those that have not paid. At some point we must quit accepting less and raise the bar on what we expect.”
The City of Springhill has an ordinance (Chapter 86 in Code of Ordinances) in place that states, “the schedule of specific charges recommended by the committee of the board of alderman, appointed and approved by the mayor and on file in the city clerk’s office is approved, subject to any adjustments that the mayor may see fit to make under the guidelines prescribed in this section and subject to ultimate review and determination by the board of aldermen.”
Garbage collection is a part of the city’s combined utility system, which also includes water and sewage.
Another issue that has become increasingly widespread following the sale of the landfill last year has been “dumping.” Since residents now must pay a fee to dispose of their garbage, which used to be free of charge, ones that cannot afford to pay for this service have alluded to dumping garbage and other large waste on properties throughout the parish.
Webster Parish Police Juror for District 9 Beverly Kennon informed the jury that this has been taking place specifically on Walter Lyons Road in Minden on private property as well as along the parish road. There is trash overflowing from the private property, as well as a mattress and a doghouse that contains a deceased dog.
Kennon said, “People in the area have been fussing with me about the stuff on the road. They have said that it looks like there has been so much dumped in her yard, that it is starting to come down the road.”
The Webster Parish Public Works department has already been working to clean up the area and the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office has become aware of the issue and is investigating the situation. They are currently in discussions regarding installing cameras and signage in the area to prevent future issues.
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