City water, sewer rates coming down; new sanitation rates, nuisance ordinance approved; COVID-related raises to end

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Members of the Cullman City Council are seen at the council’s meeting Monday evening, Nov. 9, 2020. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening tackled a long agenda, including new water and sewer rates that will see minimum usage fees drop.

According to information supplied by City Clerk Wes Moore:

Sewer rates

  • Based on a rate study from ADEM and UNC, we are moving back to a tiered rate system for sewer. 
  • Residential Sewer Rate Minimums decrease from $39 to $10 inside city and from $48 to $20 outside city.
  • Sewer Usage Charges will start at 0 gallons versus 3,000 gallons. 
  • Residential Sewer Usage Rates will increase $0.50 per 1,000 gallons.
  • Commercial Sewer Usage Rates will increase $1 per 1,000 gallons. 
  • Industrial Sewer Usage Rates will increase $1.50 per 1,000 gallons.
  • Our Usage Charge Increases allowed us to decrease our minimums and the overall utility bills for the elderly, those individuals on fixed incomes, and single residents. The majority of our customers will see a decrease in their monthly bill. 
  • Commercial and Industrial rates are typically higher in other areas due to the higher infrastructure costs.

 

Water rates

  • Based on a rate study from ADEM and UNC, we are moving back to a tiered rate system for water.
  • Residential Water Rate Minimums decrease from $35 to $10 inside city and from $48 to $20 outside city.
  • Water Usage Charges will start at 0 versus 3,000 previously. Residential Water Usage Rates will increase $0.50 per 1,000 gallons.
  • Commercial Water Usage Rates will increase $1 per 1,000 gallons.
  • Industrial Water Usage Rates will increase $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. 
  • Our Usage Charge Increases allowed us to decrease our minimums and the overall utility bills for the elderly, those individuals on fixed incomes, and single residents. The majority of our customers will see a decrease in their monthly bill.
  • Commercial and Industrial rates are typically higher in other areas due to the higher infrastructure costs.

 

Sanitation rates

The council also approved a new table of rates for the city’s sanitation department as follows (cited from ordinance document):

  1. RESIDENTIAL. There will be a $16 per month charge for the first container; each additional will be an additional $8 per container, for once a week solid waste pickup, for each single family residence, town house, condominium or other living quarters within the city limits of the City of Cullman. Provided, further, that in apartment houses or other buildings or residences where more than one family occupy and maintain separate apartments, a garbage container shall be provided to each family living in such building or residence, and each family shall pay the garbage fee required by this ordinance. All garbage and waste shall be placed in plastic bags in the city provided container. No trash or waste in any container, other than the city provided container, will be picked up by the City of Cullman. Excessive trash pickup at a residence can be charged an additional pickup fee at the discretion of the Sanitation Department. 

 

  1. COMMERCIAL. There will be a minimum charge of $60 per month for weekly solid waste pickup in two 96 gallon carts for each office or business in the City of Cullman. If more frequent service is required, fees may be adjusted accordingly. All garbage and waste shall be placed in plastic bags in the city provided container. No trash or waste in any container, other than the city provided container, will be picked up by the City of Cullman. Excessive trash pickup at a commercial office or business can be charged an additional pickup fee at the discretion of the Sanitation Department. 

 

  1. DUMPSTER SERVICE: 

DUMPSTER SIZE  COST PER HAUL  DELIVERY FEE 

Two Yard Dumpster  $ 80.00    $ 50.00 

Four Yard Dumpster  $ 120.00   $ 50.00 

Six Yard Dumpster  $ 160.00   $ 50.00 

Eight Yard Dumpster  $ 200.00   $ 50.00 

 

  1. ROLL-OFF SERVICE: PER DELIVERY COST PER HAUL DAILY RENT TIPPING FEES 

20 Yard Roll-Off Container $ 100.00  $ 175.00   $ 6.00   Plus tipping fees 

30 Yard Roll-Off Container $ 100.00  $ 175.00   $ 6.00   Plus tipping fees 

40 Yard Roll-Off Container $ 100.00  $ 175.00   $ 6.00   Plus tipping fees 

 

  1. COMPACTOR SERVICE: Minimum Monthly Rental Charge for a compactor is $475 plus hauling and disposal fees which will vary at the discretion of the Sanitation Department.

According to the ordinance, the rate will automatically adjust for inflation each year at a rate of 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater.

Councilman Johnny Cook pointed out that the residential base rate of $16 is unchanged and has not been raised since 2013.

Nuisance ordinance

The council adopted a new nuisance ordinance which, according to Moore:

  • Broadens the definition of nuisance to include building materials and “other miscellaneous items”
  • Expedites the process for demolition of dilapidated houses

 

The ordinance notes that “abandoned or inoperable vehicles, abandoned overgrown grass and weeds, abandoned and unoccupied dilapidated structures, and other nuisances described herein within the city limits of Cullman, Alabama, could be injurious to the general welfare through being a dangerous public menace and an eyesore, and providing breeding grounds and shelter for rats, mice, snakes, mosquitoes, and other vermin, insects and pests; or attaining heights and dryness that constitute a serious fire threat or hazard; or bearing wingy or downy seeds, when mature that cause the spread of weeds and when breathed, irritation to the throat, lungs, and eyes of the public; or hiding debris such as broken glass or metal that could inflict injury on a person going upon the property, or being unsightly and constituting a usual blight.”

COVID-related temporary raises to end

The council passed a resolution to reaffirm the expiration date of Dec. 31, 2020 for FFCRA benefits. This will terminate the 5% temporary pay raise given earlier this year to:

  • Police Department
  • Fire Rescue Department
  • Sanitation Department
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Water and Sewer Departments
  • Street Department
  • Animal Control Division
  • Engineering Department
  • City Garage
  • Information Technology Department
  • Human Resources Department

 

Other council business

The council approved the following resolutions:

  • 2021-36 to appoint officers of the City of Cullman. This resolution confirmed department heads as follows:
    • Kenny Culpepper- Chief, Police Department
    • Brian Bradberry- Chief, Fire Department
    • Dale Greer- Director of Economic Development
    • Sam Dillender- Superintendent, Sanitation Department
    • Scotty Talley- Superintendent, Street Department
    • Jeff Adams- Superintendent, Wastewater Treatment Plant
    • Chris Freeman- Superintendent, Water and Sewer Department
    • Joshua Brown- Superintendent, Garage Department
    • Brian Landreth- Chief Building Official
    • Christopher Dotson- Director of Risk Management
    • Jacob Smith Director of Information Technology
    • Rothal (Clain) Fletcher- Superintendent, ROW Maintenance Department
    • Erica York- Director of Engineering
    • Zachary Wood- Director of Parks and Recreation
  • 2021-37 to appoint officers and committees of the council. This resolution officially named Jenny Folsom as council president and Johnny Cook president pro tem, along with committee assignments:
    • General Government: Finance, Administration, Risk Management, Maintenance, Economic Development, Human Resources, and Building. Chairman: Jenny Folsom, Vice Chairman: David Moss; Members: Johnny Cook, Clint Hollingsworth, Andy Page 
    • Public Works: Garage, Street, Traffic, Sanitation, and Arborist. Chairman: Johnny Cook, Vice Chairman: Clint Hollingsworth; Members: Jenny Folsom, David Moss, Andy Page 
    • Public Safety: Police, Fire, Dispatch, and EMA. Chairman: Andy Page, Vice Chairman: Johnny Cook; Members: Jenny Folsom, David Moss, Clint Hollingsworth 
    • Tourism: Park and Recreation, Airport, Museum, and Chamber of Commerce. Chairman: Clint Hollingsworth, Vice Chairman: Andy Page; Members: Johnny Cook, Jenny Folsom, David Moss 
    • Utilities: Water, Sewer, Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Utilities Board. Chairman: David Moss, Vice Chairman: Jenny Folsom; Members: Johnny Cook, Clint Hollingsworth, Andy Page
  • 2021-38 to reappoint Roy Williams as the city attorney
  • 2021-39 to designate the mayor and city treasurer as depositories for City funds, and to designate the president and president pro tem of the council as authorized signatories
  • 2021-40 to appoint officers and employees, naming Wesley Moore city clerk and Sherry Compton city treasurer
  • 2021-41 to award a bid for pipe to Bear Concrete Products, Inc. in the amount of $ 24,032.61. Harvey Culvert Company, Inc. submitted a bid of $ 62,949.26; Tristar Pipe & Supply, Inc. was notified but submitted no bid.

 

The council also approved an ordinance to adopt a seven-member format for the City of Cullman Planning Commission, decreasing the number from nine members.

The council also gave a first reading to an ordinance to amend the officers of the City of Cullman and eliminate the position of Tech Village Director. Being a first reading, no action was taken at this meeting. The council gave additional first readings to proposed ordinances to annex two properties and vacate a utility easement.

The Cullman City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the Cullman City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend, subject to occupancy restrictions.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com