Around Lamoni Article
(Pictured: Pictured from left to right are City Attorney, Rob Rolfe, Councilors Nathan Silvers & Sherry Morain, Mayor Douglas Foster, Councilors Jordan Omstead, Roger Potts and Anthony Crandell as they consider the enterprise opportunity.)
During last Thursday’s Lamoni City Council meeting, council members unanimously passed an enterprise opportunity proposal to purchase Recirculating Consultants, the company that has been contracted to provide trash pick-up for Lamoni’s residences. The proposal was a conclusion of a three-month process which began when the owner Jim Young, informed the city he would be retiring. Lamoni is expected to complete the transfer by October 1.
“Cities are required by Iowa statutes to assure that trash services are available to its residents,” Lamoni Mayor Doug Foster said. “The obvious options available to us were to contract with a trash disposal service or provide it ourselves.” City Council member Tony Crandell chaired a committee made up of Jordan Omstead – city council member, Mayor Foster, Barb Stuck – City Administrator, and Curt Shields – Street Superintendent to review options. The committee worked with a financial consultant and the local banks to evaluate the financial implications in consideration of the enterprise opportunity.
“When Jim approached us about selling us his trash business, we knew it would be a big task to undertake,” Stuck said. “It involved additional personnel, a fleet of vehicles and related equipment, compactors, dumpsters – even the containers residents take out to the curb every Tuesday and Wednesday. We had to decide what the best outcome would be for Lamoni.” The committee quickly learned that contracting probably meant bigger trucks used for collection which would damage streets in other rural communities. Increased cost to residents was a factor. State ordinances for trash disposal limited companies to those who operated in Iowa.
“We looked at Jim’s proposition as purely a business decision,” Foster emphasized. “We knew buying the trash service obviously satisfied the state requirement to provide pick-up to our community. We had to be sure it didn’t cost the city or residents any more than currently being paid. When we looked at everything, we realized it would actually produce revenue and allow Lamoni to be more efficient in all areas.” Combined with the Street Department, it becomes part of the newly formed Public Works Department with Curt Shields as its director. The city will begin recruiting two additional employees. Since trash pick-up is not a full time job, these employees will be utilized in other street and landscaping activities.
“What we want to emphasize to our community is that residents will see absolutely no difference in their trash pick-up services as a result of this decision – and we should actually generate additional revenue. We’re fortunate Jim has also offered his know-how for a period of time as a volunteer consultant to assist us through the transition.” Initially, the Lamoni trash pick-up program will continue to cover Decatur, Davies City, and Pleasanton.
“We’re acutely aware of our responsibility to keep property taxes from increasing,” Foster said. “When we took everything into consideration in this case, we realized this proposal increases personnel, preserves our streets, and generates revenue. It was the best option available and became an easy choice to make”