Holly Trustees Welcome New Administrator, Sets Infrastructure Goals for 2020

Holly Administrator Michael Tanner


Michael Tanner, Holly’s newly hired city administrator, attended his first Trustees meeting on Wednesday, December 4th and got right into the mix of an agenda that covered the town’s 2020 budget and mill levy, discussion of the need for a personnel policy manual, appointments to the ARPA board following the resignation of David Wilhite and a lengthy discussion of whether to move forward with a transfer station or other alternative for handling the town’s waste.   Tanner, who moved from Arkansas, is filling the administrator’s post after an almost three-year vacancy for the community.

Holly is one of several communities in the state pondering how best to deal with waste removal. The Trustees have notified the state health department of its intent to close the current landfill which is just about at capacity. Digging a new cell would cost $750,000 and would require a number of environmental safeguards which the town is skirting with the decision to close the current one. That has left two options on the table which were reviewed by the Trustees during their monthly meeting.

Tanner described the workings of a small scale transfer station, detailing how ordinary household or commercial refuse collections are compressed and trucked out of town once they reach capacity in a 40 cubic yard holding bin. Other, larger materials, such as metal framework or heavy construction materials are stored on-site until they reach a level of tonnage to be sold for scrap. This process eliminates the need for a cell, but does include the cost of a compressor/motor, an operator, large capacity trash cans for commercial ventures, cardboard bailer, several buildings for storage including the one to hold refuse and the compressor; all generally estimated at $500,000. Mayor Calvin Melcher expressed concerns about the horsepower rating of the compactor motor, “Will it be 25 or 50 horsepower, either way we’ll need to run a three-phase powerline two miles to the site and at $13 a foot, that comes to about $140,000.”

The only other option discussed was presented some months ago; hiring a firm to collect refuse and haul it away, perhaps to either Garden City or Springfield. The Trustees opted to explore that alternative and will advertise for bids for a contractor who would work within their expense projections.   Either way, according to Trustee Corey Stephens, the way the collections are handled in the future won’t be very different from the way they are now for Holly residents, other than there will be no landfill for personal dumping.

In other action, the Trustees approved the 2020 budget following a brief public hearing, approved the ordinance appropriating sums of money totaling $2,416,882. This was broken into $473,859 for the General Fund, $19,826 for the Library, $1,914,192 for the Utility Fund and $9,005 for the Conservation Trust Fund. The annual Mill Levy Ordinance was passed setting the levy at 28.866 mills on each dollar’s worth of property worth an assessed value of $2,800,486 by the County Assessor. The action will generate $80,839 needed to balance the 2020 budget.

The Trustees, with the exception of Larry Sitts, voted to approve Ordinance 530 which increases rates and tariffs for electrical energy services to the town. A Cost of Service study for the electric rates was conducted this past year which found a need for the rate restructure. Residential customer charges will increase from $4.75 a month to $12 with the beginning of 2020. General Service charges will increase from $7.50 a month to $15, General Service Demand will see the Customer Charge increase from $7 a month to $20 and the Demand Charge will increase per kilowatt hour from $1.75 to $2. There will also be increases for Large Power Primary customers.

The Trustees voted to hire Martin and Wood Water Consultants to assess the town’s groundwater situation. High concentrations of radionuclides have been detected in two out of three wells and the towns’ north and south wells have also tested high for the EPA’s Primary Drinking Water Standards for radium concentrations. The firm proposes to locate an alternate water source that is low in radionuclide concentrations and blend it with the existing town wells to get the combined water back below EPA standards.

The liquor license for JR Liquors was approved and the Trustees decided to ask the party interested in purchasing land east of town to make a formal presentation at the next meeting, set for January 8th.

By Russ Baldwin


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