The Spring Valley City Council held a special meeting on Sept. 5 to review garbage hauler proposals submitted for its garbage service provider and discuss the 2013 preliminary budget.

The Spring Valley City Council was holding a public informational meeting to discuss the proposals on Monday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at City Hall and business owners and residents were encouraged to attend.

The city's current garbage service contract with Waste Management is up for renewal Nov. 1. The city has received three proposals for the new contract, which is renewed every three years.

The city received proposals from Waste Management of Rochester, Sunshine Sanitation of Stewartville and Wm. Hanson Waste Removal and Recycling of Chatfield.

There has been interest in the provider change this year as Spring Valley business owners have asked that the city's contract cover commercial service because they are questioning rate increases and quality of service with the current provider. Waste Management handles the city's solid waste removal, but the current contract only covers residential properties. City Administrator Deb Zimmer said she decided to include commercial pickup in the bidding this year.

Zimmer noted in the proposal, she asked that there be no charge for garbage service for all city buildings, but if waste is extra heavy, then the city would be billed.

The administrator noted the main difference between the proposals seems to be price. "In talking with all three providers, they are somewhat flexible so the service would be comparable," she noted.

Zimmer said Waste Management's charge would increase from $6.33 for its drive by fee that is charged to utility bills to $6.56. She said garbage service bills for commercial properties fluctuate because the weight of the waste to be removed fluctuates. The rate for a 32-gallon cart is $7.07, 64-gallon cart $9.04 and 96-gallon cart $11.02.

In Sunshine Sanitation's proposal, it notes that bag service, which includes 10 33-gallon bags will cost $15. The approximate monthly charge for recycling fees, to be collected by the city, will be $6.33. This price will be 75 cents higher if Sunshine bills. A 35-gallon container, including all fees and taxes, is $8 per month; 64 gallon, $10.50; 96 gallon, $14.25. Dumpsters are available upon request.

According to Wm. Hanson's proposal, for the bag system, $8.05 is the base rate with 33-gallon bag cost to the customer of $1.65 and 19-gallon bag cost of $1.15. It states that recycling fees are included in the base fee. This company also has construction boxes and dumpsters available upon request.

Zimmer said that garbage proposals would be on the agenda for the Sept. 10 council meeting and that "hopefully residents attend if they have concerns." Mayor Jim Struzyk suggested having the haulers that submitted proposals come to the following city council meeting to discuss their proposals.

Budget

The 2013 preliminary levy is set at $914,632, compared to the 2012 levy of $878,027.

The 2013 preliminary levy includes $370,000 for general operation, $120,000 for parks, $20,000 for EDA, $109,736 for library and $294,896 for debt. The tax capacity is $1,065,788 and the city tax rate is at 85.82 percent.

Zimmer noted that this was a "pretty big jump" but noted the downtown TIF was decertified on Dec. 31, 2011, which should increase the total tax capacity.

"Considering we have had the same levy for two years in a row, this is a big increase for us," she added.

Other business

• Council members discussed the Main Street project (also known as County Road 1). Mayor Jim Struzyk said it was clear that the owners of the property along the street don't want to pay the assessments, but the city can't afford the project without assessing them. Struzyk referred to the article in the Spring Valley Tribune last week. Fillmore County Commissioner Chuck Amunrud was interviewed as stating the county is considering abandoning that portion of the county road now. Stuzyk said he didn't necessarily agree with everything in the article and he felt that if it is abandoned that it "could hurt some businesses."

• The council approved extending its contract for the renting of its city farmland. Previously every two years the city would ask for bids from individuals interested in renting the farmland. Zimmer noted that it would be nice to go from a two-year contract to a five-year contract for budgeting purposes and be able to "count on that income." The contract with the current renter will be extended.