All residents within Vader will now be charged for garbage service, if they are using it or not.
The decision came about during the Feb. 5 Vader City Council meeting after city leaders considered ways to enforce a solid waste ordinance requiring all residents to use garbage services to maintain public health and safety.
The council authorized private garbage collector Jeff Cummins to bill all residents for garbage pickup and leave it up to customers whether or not they use the service. This was in response a small number of residents who have allowed garbage to accumulate, stated City Clerk Jill Nielson.
While violation of the solid waste ordinance is a misdemeanor offence punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, council members stated billing all residents was a simpler solution than pursuing criminal prosecution.
Cummins said those who continue to not pay for garbage services will be sent to collections.
During the meeting, Mayor Ken Smith said a temporary contract for 911 response service from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has been extended until April 30 and can be terminated once a local law enforcement option is found.
Smith said a draft of an interlocal agreement between Vader, Winlock, Toledo and Napavine for shared police services was still unavailable for council members as the drafting process between mayors continues. He said options before the city, including hiring a new chief or contracting long-term with a neighboring entity, will become clearer after the draft is presented.
He did note around $4,000 has been spent this year on attorney’s fees to craft the agreement, stating the city does have $10,000 set aside for such costs but that most is it intended for legal negotiations with Lewis County to re-acquire Vader’s water system.
Smith added, if an alternative to the Sheriff’s Office is not acted upon by April 30, a long-term contract approved by the council will be needed to continue using Sheriff’s Office services.
Council members also approved an increase in pay rate and hours for city employees, which Smith said may soon result in longer business hours for City Hall.
Nielson and Billing Clerk Dianne Floyd will be earning $1 more per hour while Floyd and Public Works Employee Jonathan Rhodes will be working 20 and 24 hours per week, respectively, instead of 15. A $1 per hour raise for Rhodes had also been proposed but council members said Rhodes must first receive a favorable employee review after completing his probationary hiring period March 20.
Council members passed the increases contingent upon the elimination of a city policy offering health benefits to all employees, stating the offer should be extended only to full-time workers to decrease the city’s financial liabilities.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. Those with questions or in need of accommodations may call (360) 295-3222.