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Roanoke to create new sanitation department

Roanoke mayor Jill Patterson-Hicks at Monday’s Roanoke City Council meeting gave the council members detailed information about a proposed new sanitation department that would be formed within the city.

The department would have a budget of over $500,000 and would be funded primarily by the city’s new garbage collection services.

The city has for months been working toward taking on residential garbage collection rather than contract that service to a third party. The city has already purchased a pair of garbage trucks, and at Monday’s meeting, agreed to a deal with current trash collection provider Amwaste to purchase all of Amwaste’s trash cans currently in use throughout the city.

That deal with Amwaste will create a major cost savings for the city and will negate a deal the city had in place to purchase 2,800 trash cans at a price of over $190,000.

Roanoke will buy Amwaste’s 2,429 cans at a cost of $12 each for a total expense of $29,148. That move saves the city roughly $160,000.

The new sanitation department will consist of six employees, and duties will include trash collection, grass cutting, curb and gutter maintenance, and Christmas decorations, among others.

The city’s contract with Amwaste expires on March 31, so the city is getting the pieces in place to take over garbage collection duties after that date.

Patterson-Hicks also proposed a small price increase for garbage collection, from the current charge of $16 per bin to $18 per bin for residential customers. The council has not adopted the formation of the new department, nor the price increase, but those measures will be voted on soon in order to meet the March 31 deadline.

Main Street parking lot

Construction of the proposed parking lot on the empty lot next to City Hall may move forward in early spring. The parking lot was part of a larger parking overhaul at City Hall that included creating several parallel parking spaces on Main Street in front of the building.

But in order to fit within the given space those parallel spaces would require a re-centering of the center stripe on Main Street. The city does not have the authority to make that kind of move, however. Since Main Street is a state highway, those changes must be done by ALDOT. That portion of the project is expected to add months of delays, so instead of waiting the council decided Monday to take another route.

They opted to have Harmon Engineering, who designed the project, split it into two phases so that the parking lot can be constructed without having to wait for the parallel spaces.

Harmon will redesign the project over the next couple of weeks, after which it will be advertised for bids. Once the bid is awarded, construction could begin this spring.

Jail contract

The council agreed Monday by a 4-1-1 vote (with Tammi Holley voting no, and John Frank Houston abstaining) to enter into an agreement with the Randolph County jail to house Roanoke’s inmates, at a cost of $35 per inmate, per day.

This move was mostly a formality, however, as Roanoke continues to use its city jail for its inmates. The contract runs from January 1-September 30 of this year, but the city is not expected to move its police department from the justice center on West Point Street to its new headquarters on Main Street until at least October, after the current contract expires.

Other action

Also at Monday’s meeting the council approved two minor expenditures. The first was for a price increase on the purchase of a dump truck that was previously in the budget for $50,000. The price of the truck actually came in at just under $60,000, so the council agreed to pay the difference.

The second was a $9,000 expenditure for repairs to the city’s boom truck.

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