Chapel Hill absorbs trash rate hike

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chapel Hill aldermen voted last week to: restrict beer sales; help residents pay helicopter ambulance subscriptions on an installment basis; defer action on a wireless phone service; and not increase trash service fees.

Waste Management Inc., the business that owns Cedar Ridge Landfill, has a three-year contract with the north Marshall County town and it's increasing the cost of household trash collections by 13 cents per home, according to Town Administrator Mike Hatten.

Chapel Hill bills its residents for the service through their utility bills and Hatten asked the aldermen if they wanted to pass it on to the residents, or pay the additional amount from the city's budget.

"We don't need to put anything on them that we don't have to," Mayor Carl Cooper said. Alderman Horace Hill moved to have the city absorb the increased cost and the vote was unanimous.

Marshall County residents and officials have faced an on-going issue for nearly four years on whether Cedar Ridge Landfill should be permitted to use some 10 acres at the landfill for a new dumping ground. Jim Fyke, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said no. Waste Management is challenging that decision and the state Solid Waste Management Control Board is scheduled to consider the appeal on Dec. 7.

As for beer sales, aldermen last month discussed a proposed ordinance to prohibit that within 250 feet of a place of worship. Specifics of the proposed ordinance were discussed, changes were made for the new draft of the pending law and it was presented on Oct. 11 during the town board's monthly meeting.

Alderman Henry Frame moved to accept the proposed ordinance on its first of two required votes last week and the board unanimously supported Frame's motion.

Air Evac is the helicopter ambulance service with a base at Lewisburg's Ellington Airport on Franklin Highway. It's supported by fees and subscriptions. Discussion indicated that such flights might cost $14,000 to $15,000, but insurance policies might only pay $8,000.

Air Evac subscription packages cost $60 in one lump sum, according to the discussion between Hatten, the mayor and aldermen who agreed that town utility bills could be used to collect helicopter ambulance subscription fees on a monthly basis at approximately $5 per month.

Monthly collections would include a 50-cent fee to the town as a handling charge.

"It's an opportunity to extend life expectancy," Cooper said. "It's an option."

Alderman Marion Joyce endorsed the idea, moving for approval and the vote was unanimous.

In late March of 2000, Chapel Hill entered a contract with a wireless telephone service that wanted to place an antenna on the town's water tower, according to discussion raised by the town administrator.

The business that initiated the contract is "gone," Hatten said, but a successor apparently wants to proceed with another plan, but specifics were unclear during the discussion.

Alderman Horace Hill moved to table the decision so the original contract could be bought to the board. The motion was unanimously approved.