Hope town officials are continuing their efforts to clean up the community through laws regulating trash.
The Town Council last week found out that last month's decision to rescind a townwide trash service was not valid.
Last month, Councilman Ed Johnson tried to use a parliamentary procedure under Roberts' Rules of Order, to take back a decision to award a town-wide trash collection contract to CGS Services of Morristown. He said that he had unanswered questions about the contract and a majority of the council agreed to back off on the decision.
But last week, the town's attorney, Cindy Boll, said that because the previous vote involved an agreement with an outside group, it was not subject to being thrown out under the rules.
"After the last meeting, I was contacted and asked to review Robert's Rules of Order, in regards to rescinding votes," Boll said. "I did that and I will tell you tonight that Roberts' Rules of Order does allow for repealing, rescinding and annulling votes, but there are exceptions to those."
Johnson said that he didn't believe Boll was looking at the most recent update to the rule book, but said he did not want to argue the point.
Council President Clyde Compton said that he believed the concerns that Johnson and others were talking about had to do with lost revenue for the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District. The Rumpke-operated county landfill received a fee for every load of trash dumped there. In a letter to the Town Council, County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said the loss of that trash could cost the waste district $50,000 to $60,000 a year. However, Kleinhenz also said that the county did not want to pressure the town on its decision.
Chris Ross from CGS said that he doubted the impact would be that great. He said that because town residents were already using three different trash companies, and many are taking their trash to the dump themselves, that they probably would not have that much of an effect on the waste district budget. Customers who use Rumpke already have their trash going to the county landfill, while Bestway uses a Medora landfill it operates and CGS has a facility in Morristown.
Ross said that the use of their own landfill made it economically possible to offer a low rate to city residents.
Ultimately, the Town Council had a first reading of an ordinance to establish paymement procedures for a town-wide trash service. A second and final vote is tentatively scheduled for next months' council meeting.
Town Manager J.T. Doane and Boll updated the council on the effects of an ordinance enacted earlier this year that cracked down on junk on properties. Boll said that the first court case under that ordinance went to trial and the judge ruled in the town's favor -- hitting the property owner with a $4,600 fine.
The ordinance allows the town to charge $25 a day for properties that are not cleaned up. Boll said that the judge did give the property owner until Friday to clean up the property and if that happened, she expected the fine to be lowered.
Doane said that more than 50 homes have been cited since the ordinance went into effect.