Radcliff rejects stormwater increase

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Says savings has allowed city to conduct drainage work without rate hikes

As some officials consider possible reforms and reductions to the stormwater rate in Radcliff, the first step was taken as city council accepted a recommendation from Mayor J.J. Duvall to reject the cost-of-living adjustment for the year.

Duvall said the city saw a 7 to 8 percent reduction in its stormwater expenses through cost-cutting measures and successfully carried out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stormwater projects in the last few years. He projected this year’s capital improvements for stormwater would exceed $270,000.

“We’re not increasing rates to do projects,” he said.

The monthly fee will remain at the 2012 rate of $4.83 instead of $4.91 as proposed. The council’s action Tuesday night required an overriding amendment after the legislative body previously enacted an ordinance automatically granting an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Last week, Councilwoman Barbara Baker said she believes the rate should be reviewed each year while Councilman Jacob Pearman has said he wants to analyze stormwater expenses to determine if the city needs the current rate and could possibly lower it further.

“I definitely don’t want to raise it,” Pearman said last week.

Duvall said the adjustment would add no more than $15,000 to $18,000 to the city’s coffers so denying it would have no significant impact on the city’s finances. With nods of approval and applause, residents voiced their appreciation for the decision.

The rate was $4.50 about five years ago and has gradually increased with the inception of the automatic adjustment.

Duvall said one of the ways the city has staved off costs is through a thriftier approach to leaf and limb pickup. In the past, the city’s annual limb pickup could run as high as $80,000 but through negotiation of lower bids those figures have been reduced. The council this week awarded a contract to Tree Tech Lawn & Tree for $57,500, which was $10,000 less than last year’s contract. The other bids ranged from $63,000 to $120,000.

Duvall said the city has saved more than $12,000 on limb pickup contracts during the past two years, coupled with more than $35,000 in savings after Radcliff chose to manage its own leaf pickup, dropping the cost from more than $40,000 annually to about $5,000, Duvall said.

In other business

  • Duvall declared as Tuesday Lawrence “Larry” Smith Day in Radcliff in honor of the former councilman, attorney and appellate court judge who died earlier this month after an extended illness. Smith’s family attended the meeting to receive the honor.
  • The council agreed to rebate back one half of its occupational tax in an amount equal to one percent for all employees to Cardinal Health on Lincoln Trail Boulevard. The incentive is effective from Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2018. Duvall said the council took the action to show it is serious about keeping the facility and the hundreds of jobs it brings to Radcliff.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.