Bigger loan for more trash cans

(Posted Sept. 26, 2019)

By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer

The city of London is issuing new trash cans to residents. A change in financing for the cans sparked debate at the Sept. 19 city council meeting.

The initial legislation covered financing for enough cans to cover the city’s existing households and businesses. No provision was made for future residents moving to the city, other than the fact that they would pay for their cans up front rather than over the course of a year, as is the case for current residents.

The city can only purchase the cans in quantities of 100 or more per order, according to Mayor Pat Closser. Also, there is a six- to eight-week lag from the time of order to the time of delivery, meaning new residents would be without cans during that time.

According to Closser and Steve Scaggs, a member of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the amended legislation allows the city to take out a loan with Merchants Bank for $290,000 at 1.9 percent interest–enough to cover the original allotment of cans, an additional 200 to 300 cans for future residents, and pay on the interest. The original legislation called for a $270,000 loan.

The need for additional cans and their financing was discussed at a special BPU meeting on Sept. 17.

Council member Anthony Smith, sponsor of the original legislation, did not attend the special BPU meeting. He told the rest of council he was against taking out a loan to finance the cans, arguing that BPU could afford to pay for all of them up front.

After the meeting, Scaggs said it was not possible for BPU to purchase the cans directly out of its funds, at least not without seriously depleting those funds.

Smith also contended that not only will the current citizens be paying for the cans designated for future residents, the city also will be making a profit when it, in turn, sells them to new residents.

The administration stated that the cans are being sold to residents at cost, and that the city is not profiting from the venture.  The cost of the cans remains at $7.20 per month for one year.

As for the low interest loan, “I just don’t want to miss that opportunity,” said council member Rex Castle.

Safety Service Director Joe Mosier said Merchants Bank was offering the loan through Farm Science Review, which ended on Sept. 19, but he wasn’t certain about the offer after that time.

Ultimately the legislation passed. Smith cast the only “no” vote.

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