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Garbage contract on agenda for council

But since tonight's meeting will cover only the wording of the new contract, it may be too late to send it out for bids.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 6, 2000

KENNETH CITY -- A controversial garbage contract is again on the agenda, but it's unclear if residents get one last whack at persuading council members to set aside the agreement and ask for bids instead.

Also on tonight's agenda is a preliminary vote on a proposal to amend the Town Charter to let the voters, rather than the council, decide whether to get rid of the Police Department. If finally approved by the council, the amendment would go before voters at the March 13 election before it would be made part of the charter, or town constitution.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Hall, 4600 58th St. N.

While the move to amend the Town Charter appears popular with most voters, that's not the case with the garbage contract. Council members who voted to extend an existing contract with Waste Management have come under fire for their refusal to put the contract out for competitive bids.

Residential rates are scheduled to increase by about 30 cents per month, or about 3 percent, beginning Jan. 1.

Businesses will take a bigger hit -- $1.20 more per cubic yard.

Tonight's agenda item calls for council members to vote on the wording of the contract, not whether to grant it, Kenneth City Mayor Bill Smith said. The mayor, who had been the lone vote in opposition, said it's unclear whether one of the council could move to deny the entire contract and send it out for bids at this late date.

Even if that were allowed, Kenneth City resident Ted Wiesner thinks it's unlikely to happen. Wiesner has been one of the most vocal opponents to the contract extension, saying it's good business to try for the best deal.

Wiesner even circulated a petition to try forcing the council to reconsider its decision. Although he got the necessary 200 signatures, the petition was denied because the matter was a contract, not an ordinance.

"I feel like I've done everything I can reasonably do," Wiesner said. "I simply thought it was a bad business decision."

It may be too late to do anything about the garbage contract, but council members Al Carrier and Russ Dumont, both of whom voted for the extension, are up for election.

"I do plan to be out there on election day," Wiesner said.

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