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Decatur City Commission sets residential sanitation fee, approves offset for some seniors

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Decatur City Commission sets residential sanitation fee, approves offset for some seniors

(Left to right) Decatur City Commissioner Lesa Mayer, Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers, Mayor Patti Garrett, City Manager Andrea Arnold, and Commissioners Kelly Walsh and George Dusenbury discussed the residential sanitation fee and offsetting that fee for some seniors during the city commission meeting on Monday, March 4, 2024, at City Hall. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its regular meeting on March 4, set the residential sanitation fee for 2024. The fee increased slightly from $305 to $310 per household.

“This fee should fully cover the cost of providing the residential sanitation and recycling services. Current trends continue to show a rise in the cost of consumables needed in providing solid waste services, such as the price of fuel, vehicle parts, and supplies,” Assistant Public Works Director Sean Woodson said. “The city of Decatur single family recycling program will continue to be collected by the Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department. The recommended fee accounts for the collection of comingled materials and a separated collection for glass.”

The price of the pay-as-you-throw bags will stay the same at $1.40 for the 33-gallon blue bag; 70 cents for the 5-gallon yellow bag and 40 cents for the eight-gallon green bag.

The charge for the commercial refuse container will also remain at $4.25 per cubic yard. Sanitation fees are billed yearly.

“It is also recommended that the charge for collection of 95-gallon carts remain at $800 for one cart once per week and the charge for collection of three cubic yard containers remain at $1,210 for one cart serviced once per week,” Woodson said.

The city commission additionally approved an offset to the residential sanitation and stormwater fees through 2026 for homeowners who qualify for the S-2 homestead exemption, meaning they are 80 years or older and have an adjusted gross income of less than $40,000.

“Using last year’s sanitation fee of $305 for the purposes of estimation, the cost of funding an offset would be about $33,550 per year, and if the storm-water fee of $258 is maintained (with an average equivalent residential unit for S-2 households of 0.7), the cost for that would be about $21,945 per year,” Finance Director Russ Madison wrote in a memo.

Mayor Patti Garrett said this would not waive the fee for these seniors, but rather the fee would be paid from the city’s general fund.

In other business:

– The city commission approved two alcoholic beverage licenses. One is for the retail sale for consumption on premises of beer, wine and spirituous liquors at Platez Southern Kitchen and Cocktailz, due to a new owner. The new owner is Williams and Ellsberry, LLC. Platez is located at 130 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 100.

The other license is for the retail sale for consumption on premises of beer, wine and spirituous liquors at Casa Balam, located 201 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite D.

“Casa Balam plans to permit consumption of alcoholic beverages as part of their outdoor seating on the sidewalk, which is within the public right of way and is subject to a public sidewalk table plan, attached,” Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill wrote in a memo. “The establishment plans to have entertainment in the form of live band performances. Entertainment is limited to the interior of the premises and may not perform on the sidewalk or within the public right of way.”

– The city commission voted to allow the fire department to begin a specification process for a new fire pumper. The department is researching hybrid and all-electric fire truck options.

“While energy-efficient fire apparatus units are new to the market, we have found three manufacturers: Rev Fire Group, Pierce, and Rosenbauer,” Fire Chief Toni Washington said. “The apparatus selection committee will continue to research and develop the specifications for the fire pumper that meets the needs of our community.”

The department has not decided whether the city would purchase an electric, hybrid, or traditional diesel fire truck.

“The Fire Department is seeking approval to move forward with the specification of a fire pumper in an amount not to exceed $2.7 million,” Washington said.

– The city commission approved an agreement with Toole Design Group for $249,839 to create the Safe Streets and Roads for All Action Plan and established a project budget of $275,000.

“The SS4A grant is funded by the federal government to support planning, infrastructure, behavioral, and operational initiatives to prevent death and serious injury on roads and streets involving all roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation, motorists, and commercial vehicle operators,” Assistant City Manager Cara Scharer said. “The city was awarded a grant of $200,000 with a $50,000 local match last August. The city’s agreement with FHWA, the Federal Highway Administration, requires the action plan to be completed by November 30, 2025.”

– Finance Director Russ Madison reminded residents that it’s time to apply for homestead exemptions. The city encourages anyone applying for a new homestead exemption to apply by March 15, but applications will be accepted through April 1.

Homeowners who already have an exemption applied to their tax bills do not have to reapply. Residents seeking an exemption for the first time or who are eligible for a new exemption for city and school taxes would need to apply. To learn more about the exemptions and view the application, click here.

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