City passes budget
by Chance Wright
Sep 13, 2012 | 2097 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland Board of Aldermen approved the city budget of $26,283,690 for fiscal year 2013 by a unanimous vote at a meeting earlier this week.

Appearing before the board prior to the final vote was Ned Mitchell of Southgroup Insurance in Cleveland to present options for policies that would cover the city during the next year beginning on Sept. 17.

"The costs of the city's insurance for FY 2008, FY 2009 and FY 2010 remain fairly the same," said Mitchell. "Last year we saw a fairly significant increase and this year we are seeing much of the same."

The city's insurance carrier for last year was Traveler's Insurance.

"According to the exhibit that I provided you all with, you will see that Traveler's has quoted the city $328,477 for the FY 2013 year," Mitchell pointed out. "The steep rise in premiums is based on the city's loss rate over the past seven years which is not good. That rating is based on the rising number of claims and lawsuits."

City Attorney Jamie Jacks pointed out that the city has not lost many lawsuits in the period.

"The rating is not based on just losing cases but also on legal expenses, settlements and other claims," said Mitchell.

Mitchell then proceeded to present the board with multiple exhibits on insurance options for the upcoming year.

After taking all into consideration and hearing the opinion of Mitchell, the board voted to accept coverage from a company called One Beacon with a yearly cost of $260,220.

The second and final visitor to appear before the board on Tuesday was Steve Horton, CEO of Resourceful Environmental Services of Cleveland.

RES is the company contracted by the city for solid waste removal and sanitation.

The city's contract with RES runs through Sept. 30, 2014.

Horton was asked to attend the meeting and answers concerns raised from residents during the previous meeting.

"I think most of the complaints were about getting limbs and debris removed from the curbs," said Mayor Billy Nowell.

"The city has an ordinance that states that the limb length must be five feet or less for it to be removed from a property," said Horton. "And, our contract states that if debris is caused by an act of God then the city is responsible for that cleanup to a certain amount. But, we still make every attempt to work with Ray (Bell) and the city to keep your costs down."

Horton went on to say that the contract says that garbage pick up is to run twice a week and limb pickup once.

"O.K. this is the deal," said Horton. "Most municipalities average between 48 and 52 pounds of solid waste per week per home. Here in Cleveland the average is much higher at about 58 pounds per week per home."

Horton said that there are times when they have problems.

"For example, the community needs to understand that if you are a landlord of a rental property, you are responsible for that rubbish," said Horton. "If a tenant moves out and you (landlord) go in there and clean up that property and put the debris on the curb for pick up, you (landlord) are responsible for that. It is not the city's responsibility to remove that nor is it the responsibility of RES per the city's contract.

"Also according to the contract, if a lawn service does work for someone and bags debris and puts it on the curb, it is their responsibility to remove it," explained Horton. "The way the contract reads, it is not the responsibility of the city or of RES to remove that debris."

Horton said that more times than not that the city or RES removes this debris anyway.

According to the contract, the city pays RES $15 per month per residence, which is about 3,780 residences.

The city will bill $22 per residential water account in FY 2013. The number of residences billed by the city is less than what is billed to the city from RES because of duplexes and rental properties.

The number of residences billed by the city is about 3,819.

The extra costs billed by the city cover other costs incurred by the city's sanitation fund which includes; employee costs, city limb pickup, $75,000 for garbage bags provided to residents, Earth Day hazardous materials costs and other expenses.

According to City Administrator John Lindsey, total budgeted expenditures in the Sanitation Fund for FY2013 are $1,132,225.

Dividing that number by 12 months and then by the 3,819 billed customers, it comes out to about $24.71 per customer.

The new fee of $22 is still less than the city's costs.