By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth residents might soon see an increase in their sanitation rates every year automatically without having each one authorized by Portsmouth City Council.
In Monday’s Mayor’s Conference Agenda, Portsmouth Mayor David Malone asked for legislation to be prepared to raise sanitation rates by 9 percent. The legislation would set up a separate fund titled Number 632, which would be the companion fund to Number 631, the Sanitation Capital Fund.
“The fund would be designated for major things that they would need — capital improvements, trucks, transfer station, replacements,” City Auditor Trent Williams said.
“That’s what they’re using 631 for now,” Portsmouth Council President John Haas said.
“And you have all this money sitting in 631, and maybe you need a couple of hundred thousand each year for capital improvements, your argument on the other side would be, ‘We don’t care if you need it or not. We need it for salaries.’ This segregates it so it can only be used for capital improvements,” Williams said.
The conversation then went into possibly putting a 2.5 percent increase per year from now on. Williams said Scioto County Commissioners had enacted such a system several years ago.
“Trent told me that a couple of years ago and I thought we should implement that as well,” Malone said. “If that’s something that Council wishes to do we can actually put together a resolution or ordinance to have that built in.”
“It looks like we’ve gone up 9 percent in five years — from 2007 to 2012,” Haas said. “That’s two percent a year. We could just set it at 2 to 2.5 percent a year, and we wouldn’t have to come back unless there’s some emergency.”
After the discussion, Council chose to have Malone, Williams and Portsmouth City Solicitor Mike Jones to get together and decide on what percentage from 2 percent to 3 percent, and also to determine what percentage would go into the operation fund 631, and what percentage would go into the sanitation capital fund, and bring their findings back to City Council.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.