NEBRASKA CITY – Soon Nebraska City residents may have smiles on their faces when they receive their utility bill.
Beginning Sept. 1, American Recycling & Sanitation, Inc. of Rock Port, Mo., will provide garbage and recycling services for the city at cheaper rates.
On Tuesday, the Nebraska City City Council had a special meeting to approve entering into a franchise agreement with American Recycling & Sanitation, Inc., which is owned by B.K., Inc. Public Works Commissioner and Councilman Jim Stark said the new garbage collection and recycling rates are "phenomenal.
"Nebraska City residents deserve that. They've, over the years, paid for that transfer station. So now they can start getting some of the benefits," Stark said after the meeting. "Most of (the reduced rates are) because we've already paid for the transfer station, and now we're allowing them to use it for garbage."
Stark, along with Finance Commissioner and Councilman Mark Mercer, City Attorney David Partsch, City Administrator Joe Johnson and Nebraska City Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Edwards met with American Recycling Thursday to negotiate rates and finalize the contract.
"I'd like to acknowledge B.K. and American Recycling and both commissioners Stark and Mercer for this," Mayor Jack Hobbie said. "These are great rates."
At the July 21 meeting, council members approved for residents and commercial businesses to have optional garbage service. The new rates for residential weekly garbage pick-up services will be:
- Curbside solid waste with container, $13.59;
- Curbside solid waste without container, $12.25;
- Curbside recycling with container, $2.95;
- Senior citizens, 65 and older, curbside solid waste with container, $12.50;
- And senior citizens, 65 and older, curbside solid waste without container, $11.50.
Waste Connections of Nebraska, Inc. of Omaha will continue garbage collection until Aug. 31.
Jack Kelly of American Recycling said that residential curbside garbage and recycling pick-up will be weekly unless residents notify the company of a collection change. Collection schedules for commercial businesses will be determined by business owners.
He also addressed recycling and hopes that by offering the weekly pick-up of both garbage and recycling and providing containers will help promote residents and commercial businesses to recycle.
"We don't have that many people recycling right now. We hope that changes," he said. "We'll give everybody the opportunity to recycle."
Kelly stressed that people can chose if they want garbage and recycling containers and if they want American Recycling's services. Yard waste should not be mixed in with garbage or recyclable items.
Landlord Linda Wilberger voiced her concerns over the services and rates for her rental properties.
"So will we have the ability to, if we don't have anybody living in them, to stop delivering or pick-up so we're not paying for something that we're not using?" Wilberger asked.
"If we don't provide any service, then we don't expect any pay," Kelly replied. "Your council decided that they weren't going on any type of mandatory service."
Wilberger asked if she would be charged to haul yard waste to the landfill. Kelly said there is no charge for Nebraska City residents and lawn services to haul yard waste to the transfer station. However, out-of-town residents and lawn services will be charged. Stark said the rates for out-of-town residents is being determined.
Wilberger asked about disposing items that former tenants have left behind in her rental properties.
    The rates for people disposing of garbage at the transfer station will be:
    - Solid waste, $60 per ton;
   - Waste that is under 555 pounds in an individual vehicle, $18.75 per vehicle;
   - Waste that is over 555 pounds in an individual vehicle, $65.55 per ton.
  - Yard waste in a dump truck, $30.75 per load;
    - Forty-yard box of pallets, $68 per load;
   - Passenger car tires, $6 per tire;
    - Truck tires, $12 per tire;
    - Tractor tires, $25 per tire;
    - And large tractor and equipment tires, $50 per tire.
    "I thank you all for working hard and getting this done for all of our citizens," Wilberger said to the council. "I think it will give a lot of people in our community a lot more trust in our city government right now that we're finally getting something done with helping our rates, and I want to commend you all for doing all of that."
Stark said this process has been a long road.
"I think we made a great choice. I think these guys are going to be good partners for us," he said.