Hogansville discusses sanitation expense

Published 4:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

HOGANSVILLE – The City of Hogansville spent time during its Monday evening city council meeting discussing city staff recommendations for changes related to the city’s sanitation enterprise fund. Those recommendations included increases to fees for residents and house-based businesses, among others.

The city’s sanitation enterprise fund has consistently lost money over the last five years, City Manager David Milliron said during the meeting. From the city’s 2014 fiscal year through its 2018 fiscal year, the City of Hogansville lost a total of $629,159 in sanitation expense, with expenses consistently outpacing revenues over that time in amounts ranging from $94,279 to $148,704 per year. In addition, the fund is projected to lose money again in 2019.

Milliron’s recommendations included an increase in the monthly base sanitation fee to $18 for each residential consumer, plus $16.50 for each additional garbage can used. Also included were increased fees for home-based businesses and mandatory sanitation pickup for all improved city lots.

While the sanitation recommendations would not alleviate the deficit altogether, Milliron said they would begin to address the annual shortfall with the fund.

“If you implement these suggested recommendations, no, it does not make you whole,” Milliron said. “But it’s a start to try to get ahead of some of the problems that are costing taxpayers a lot of money.”

Milliron went on to explain that the revenue the city currently generates from property taxes is not enough to provide for the enterprise services the city provides.

“You’re getting about half a million dollars in revenue a year in property taxes,” Milliron said.

“You’re then writing about $266,000 back to the county to pay for fire services they provide. Then you have the remaining to pay for all these extra services, and you’re not making ends meet.”

The recommendations were met with some resistance from the council, with members objecting to rate increases on individuals.

“I’m not in favor of increasing anything on the residents, I’ll say that right out,” City Councilwoman Theresa Strickland said. “We have specifically talked about the storage facilities, apartments and the housing authority.”

The City of Hogansville does not mandate residents subscribe to sanitation services if they use less than two utilities, as such there are approximately 200 citizens who do not subscribe and pay into the system. Thus, those that do pay for sanitation services are supplementing the cost of pick up for those who do not subscribe.

“You’re providing services that a lot of folks are getting for free and paying nothing into the system,” Milliron said.

On the suggestion of Mayor Bill Stankiewicz, a work session was scheduled to address the sanitation expenditures and suggestions as a whole, as the issue is complex and needed more concentrated time to address.