County Misses Details, Scott Waste Contract Automatically Renews For Three Years But Only To 1% Rate Increase
Darren Doyle, story and photo
Scott Waste will be the sole provider for trash pick up services in Edmonson County for the next three years, per an automatic renewal in the contract that took place on July 1, 2016. The renewal came as a surprise to the Edmonson County Fiscal Court, although it did not appear to be opposed by any member.
According to the contract, which has been in place for at least the past 8 years, the exclusive agreement between Scott Waste and Edmonson County Fiscal Court states that the contract renews automatically every three years unless one or more of the parties involved choose to stop the automatic renewal to discuss, make provisions, or discontinue. No member of the court was aware of the automatic renewal, although there are four current magistrates that served three years ago, when the last agreement renewed.
The discussion today was focused on a 3% increase that also automatically took place on July 1, as per language in the contract, however, according to County Attorney J.B. Hines, the basis of the 3% increase is incorrect.
Pete Reckard, representative of Scott Waste, said that the 3% rate increase is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) used for water, sewer, and trash rates. He also noted that the same percentage has been agreed upon by the court for several years and has never been in question.
According to Hines, the Consumer Price Index should be based on 1% rate increases, not 3%, and just because past fiscal courts had agreed on 3% rate increases, Scott Waste does not have authority to base those increases on an incorrect CPI.
Hines read to the court the portion of the contract discussing the CPI. "The franchisee shall be allowed to increase rates annually, based on the following formula: 3% annually or the previous calendar year's CPI, whichever is less." According to Hines, the 3% CPI was incorrect because Scott Waste's interpretation of the CPI included too many criteria and that the actual CPI that represented municipalities was in fact, 1%, not three.
Reckard quickly responded, "If that's the contention of the court, then we have no problem reverting back to that."
Mr. Reckard also said Scott Waste would write an official letter to the court that would state the 1% rate increase will be exercised instead.
Scott Waste bills for the July-September quarter were sent out to county customers in June, which reflected the 3% increase. Reckard told the Edmonson Voice that all customers will receive a credit on the next quarterly bills to reflect the percentage change.
Reckard also said that senior citizens will continue to receive a one dollar per month discount, (age 62 and up) and that any citizen on disability can also receive the same discount; they just have to provide proof of their disability status.
Judge Cannon said that Scott Waste had been a good community partner and said his office received very few complaints regarding their services.
Reckard said that Scott Waste would continue working with the county to support local communities. He said they donated $500 for the recent Freedom Fest fireworks display, they participate in Leadership Edmonson County each year, and provide dumpsters for the annual county clean up event. He also said that they not only provide 12 containers as listed in the contract, but also provided an additional 31 containers this year, for a total 43 containers and 80 tons of trash removed in the last clean up.
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