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This afternoon, City Hall spokesman Frank Librio forwarded a memo City Manager Mary Suhm sent to Mayor Tom Leppert and the council last night, in which Suhm broke some news: She found an extra $1.8 million with which to fund the city's rec centers, whose hours she's proposing to drastically cut in the FY2010-11 budget. Which is good news indeed: City Hall officials point to the rec-center cutbacks as one of the highest priorities amongst council members who've been given a finger-wagging what-for by their constituents at budget town hall meetings. And word is, a 1-cent tax hike "actually might happen" because council members want to save the rec centers. For the kids, ya know.
Anyhow. In the memo that follows, Suhm outlines where the money came from: an August 11 vote by the council that "adjusted the discount rate for large volume commercial landfill customers who agree to a 5-year contract." OK ... But long story short, according to last week's council agenda: In 2007, the council voted to let the Director of Sanitation Services enter into contracts with solid-waste haulers that gave 'em discounts of up to 17 percent for dumping at the city landfill -- only, the city capped the annual volume at 250,000 tons of solid waste. But last week the city took off that cap and upped the max discount to 26 percent -- changes "designed to attract additional waste volume to the city landfill and to further stabilize the revenue stream."
Which is what Suhm says has happened. In her memo to council last night, she says that after council OK'd the new deal last week, city staff "immediately began discussing this opportunity with the solid waste haulers," and that "it appears from these discussions that there will be an increase in waste volume which will result in an additional revenue in FY2010-11 of approximately $1.8 million." Which isn't enough to save all the rec centers. But it's a trash-strewn start.