On July 16, West Jefferson village council voted to extend its contract with Waste Management for residential trash collection.
Public Service Director Harold Walker said the village’s four-year contract with the company expires July 31. The terms of Waste Management’s original contract allowed the village to extend the contract for up to two years without renegotiation. Council chose a one-year extension, which comes with a slightly higher cost per month for services.
Walker said Waste Management pro-posed two price options for contract extension. Council chose the one that requires residents to pay a fixed cost of $15.35 per month, $2.15 more per month than they paid over the past few years.
The second option would have required residents to pay $13.85 per month plus a fuel cost calculated each month.
Due to fluctuation in fuel prices, council decided the second option was not a good solution because fuel prices could push fees higher than the fixed-cost option.
“I think our residents would rather see a fixed amount on their bills each month,’’ said resident Ray Miller.
Finance Officer Jack Herrel said a fixed-rate, one-year contract at $15.35 per month with Waste Management will cost each resident an additional $25.80 per year, representing a 16 percent increase.
“It’s either do this or by Aug. 1 I don’t know what we’re going to do,’’ Walker said. Going out for bids for a new contract would take at least two months, he said.
Council directed Walker to contact Waste Management to negotiate the one-year extension to give Walker’s department and council time to prepare a bidding package for refuse collection for August 2008 and beyond.
Annexation for FedEx
As part of the July 16 meeting, council held a public hearing on the proposed annexation and rezoning of 6.48 acres owned by MTB Corp. in the northwest corner of West Jefferson’s industrial park.
The Madison County Commissioners approved MTB’s proposal in April as an Expedited Type II Annexation request. The issue is now in council’s hands.
Robert Meyer, MTB’s legal represen-tative, said annexation is needed to complete the square of land where FedEx plans to build. By Ohio law, council has only a few more weeks to accept or reject the annexation. The proposal passed by the county commissioners includes land up to the roadway of State Route 29.
Council members’ main concern is that West Jefferson has, in the past, required annexations to include lands up to the center of boundary roadways so that all annexed land is contiguous.
Meyer said he is working with legal counsel representing the land contiguous to the proposed annexation but has not yet received a proposal. To restart the annexation process would take several months to complete, he said.
Council President Darlene Steele asked Meyer to continue working with attorneys representing the adjoining property to come up with a solution as soon as possible as the annexation will be on council’s Aug. 6 agenda.
“There’s no reason to hold up that annexation,’’ Walker said. “If you hold that up, you lose FedEx.’’
In other business, Sean Hughes, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presented a draft resolution to council requesting creation of a steering committee to oversee downtown revitalization projects. Hughes’ proposal calls for subcommittees for economic development, streetscape design and other business-related issues.
Hughes suggested the steering commit-tee include representatives from a wide spectrum of the community, including residents, business owners and government officials.
“With everything going on out on (Route) 29 and with the development fees we just put in place, we know we’re going to need a plan in place for the downtown,’’ Steele said.
Hughes added that a big part of revitalization includes looking at the concerns of housing, shopping venues and the quality of life within a community.
“Especially when you have active commercial and industrial development going on within a community. The important part to economic growth in revitalization is these people live here, play here and work here,” Hughes said.
Councilman Sheila Nelson said more council members should attend meetings of the West Jefferson Business Council, an offshoot of the county Chamber of Commerce.
“I think you would find these meetings very interesting. I know Darlene (Steele) and I attend as often as we can and they are very informational,” Nelson said.
The next business council meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Aug. 4 at Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library.
Hughes said the Chamber’s Madison Classic car show and festival on Aug. 18 in West Jefferson is another step towards revitalizing the downtown business area.
“I’m tying it into the revitalization program because it is bringing people downtown. That’s the idea of revitalizing an area—to get the people to live there, play there and work there.”