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Oakwood OKs landfill agreement, 2012 budget
Council also approves rezoning for VA clinic
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Oakwood City Council gave its OK Monday night to a two-year landfill agreement with Hall County.

The city will pay $34 per ton of trash or $6 lower than the county's regular fee at the landfill.

"We do feel like we ought to be paying basically what the cost of (the landfill's) operation is and nothing really above that," City Manager Stan Brown said.

As a bonus, the county also will allow city trucks to dump on a concrete pad rather than travel to the landfill.

"We've had experiences of a muddy truck getting stuck, getting tires punctured (and so forth)," Brown said.

The amount is also less than the $34.50 fee the county charged before it raised it three years ago to $40 per ton and, as a result, also lost Gainesville as a customer.

"We had the option of taking our trash somewhere else and we chose that option based on economics and just (because of) the ease of being able to offload our trash and get on back to the job," Brown said.

Before Monday's agreement, the city was paying $39.50 to take its trash to a transfer station in Gainesville, where a private company handled the waste.

The savings to the city will be about $2,000 per year, but the agreement will mean about $18,000 in new revenue for the cash-starved county.

"It's a good business decision, but it also shows good faith on our part to try to work with the county ... to try to have a landfill that meets its (financial) obligations," Brown said.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners, which approved the agreement Thursday, gave Public Works Director Ken Rearden permission in September to negotiate the county's tipping fee with local cities.

"They started off offering $36 a ton and when I went and looked at the numbers, there was no basis for that," Brown told the council.

He vowed the same kind of scrutiny when a new price is negotiated in two years.

Gainesville has yet to take action on the matter.

The new arrangement with Oakwood does include an allowance for a possible future decision by the commission to outsource the landfill to a private contractor.

If that happens, the contractor will be required to honor the fee agreement until it expires.

In other business Monday night, the council approved its 2012 budget, which takes effect Jan. 1.

The total budget amount is nearly $6.5 million, including a $3.5 million general fund supported by property taxes and other revenues; a $390,600 fund for 1 percent special purpose local option sales taxes; and a $2.6 million sewer fund.

The city's tax rate will remain at 2.48 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value.

The council also voted to approve an annexation and rezoning request for a new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic at 4175 Tanners Creek Drive.

Construction of the 24,500-square-foot building is set to begin early next year and is expected to be finished within 18 months.

It will replace a 4,500-square-foot clinic off Mundy Mill Road, across from Gainesville State College.