January 8, 2013

Surfside Beach sanitation fees likely increasing, police get new guns

Trash collection fees are likely to rise in Surfside Beach.

Trash collection fees are likely to rise in Surfside Beach.

Town Council on Tuesday gave initial approval to an ordinance that would increase the town’s sanitation fees.

Public Works Director John Adair said the increase is needed because the anticipated revenues over the next five years won’t sustain the sanitation enterprise fund which means the vehicles couldn’t be maintained or upgraded.

Since it’s an enterprise fund, it needs to be self-sustaining, and the current rates simply won’t allow that, he said.

The increase would raise standard collection and 6-yard commercial container services fees by 25 percent, while 8-yard commercial container services would jump 35 percent. For the average homeowner, that would mean an additional $3.75 per month. Commercial customers would see a $5.25 or $8.25 monthly increase for the 6-yard or 8-yard containers.

Winter roll out curb service – where public works employees move trash cans to and from the curb for collection – would double to $12 per month per cart.

Councilman Randle Stevens successfully proposed an amendment that would allow exemptions to the winter roll out service. Exemptions currently are for non-rental properties, but Stevens suggested properties may be vacant during the winter and don’t require the service and property owners shouldn’t pay for something they won’t use.

Adair said his only concern is a possible sanitation issue in the event that trash is left in a can at an exempt property. He said the trash collectors won’t stop at an exempt property to check for trash, so it could be left for several weeks.

Adair said the proposed increases are not related to the cancellation of services to Caropines, a subdivision of about 200 homes behind Wild Water and Wheels on the West side of U.S. 17 – a service that produced about $30,000 profit for the town.

“It probably did have an effect on the overall bottom line,” he said. “But even if the Caropines stayed, the rates would’ve needed to be increased.”

Also Tuesday, the Town Council authorized the purchase of new guns for police officers, costing $5,789.

Interim Police Chief Rodney Keziah said a gun malfunctioned during a training exercise. He said it turned out the gun was 13 years old. Town Administrator Micki Fellner said the majority of the guns used by the department are in that age range and suggested the purchase was a “prudent measure to reduce liability.”

The guns will remain the same caliber and the town will not need to purchase new ammunition or holsters, Keziah said.

Also, the Council approved an overlay district without dissent.

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