New mayor, council take office Monday|Recycling fee, police-station sites on agenda

Published 9:56 am Sunday, December 13, 2009

Contributing Editor

Washington’s new mayor and City Council takes office Monday.
Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. will administer the oaths of office to the new mayor and council after the current council takes care of last-minute business.
Once seated, the new council will elect a mayor pro tempore. If the council follows tradition, it will elect the member who tallied the most votes in the November election. Bobby Roberson, the city’s former planning director, was the top vote-getter in the council election.
Archie Jennings trades his seat on the council for the mayor’s seat, replacing two-term Mayor Judy Meier Jennette. She was elected to the council in 1989. In 2005, she was elected mayor. She was re-elected to the post in 2007.
The new council will discuss a proposal regarding the city’s commercial recycling fee.
Two recommended actions are included in the council’s agenda. The first recommendation calls for adopting a commercial recycling fee of “$3 per four cubic yards of commercial solid waste disposal with a minimum of $3 per commercial account.” The second proposal calls for a “commercial recycling fee of $4 per commercial account.”
The matter came before the council in November, but that council decided it needed more information before deciding if the city will charge a recycling fee for the city’s commercial solid waste-disposal customers. Public Works Director Allen Lewis then proposed a fee of $3 per existing four cubic yards of solid waste, with a minimum fee of $3 per commercial account.
Lewis told the council he believes a fee is justified because city crews and equipment are being used to pick up items the state mandates must be recycled. Using those crews and equipment to do what the state mandates adds expense to the solid waste-disposal services the city provides, Lewis said. Those items include oil filters, wooden pallets and plastic bottles and containers.
The new council’s agenda includes discussion of potential sites for a new police station, receive a report on city projects funded with federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and receiving an audit report on the city’s finances for fiscal year 2008-2009, which ended June 30.
The council also will consider allocating about $12,000 to buy laptop computers so its members and the mayor may electronically access information such as council agendas and minutes, other city documents, information on the city’s Web site and other online information as it becomes available.
“To minimize support issues, Council laptops will be housed at City Hall and be used by City Council during Council meetings. Prior to each meeting, the agenda packet will be posted on a web site so Council members will have access to the documents,” reads a memorandum from Ray Midgett, director of information technology, to the mayor and council members.