Monticello City may raise fees again

The Monticello City Council discussed sanitation needs and city office hours as part of their latest meeting on January 25.
Sanitation needs continue to be a topic of conversation between the city council and staff. 
The city raised garbage rates in September 2020 by $.33 a month for residents and an increases between ten and 27 percent for larger dumpsters used by businesses.
While the 2020 rate increase was made to raise an additional $25,000 a year in revenue, another increase may be coming.
City staff reports that the garbage truck is on its last legs after a few breakdowns. City Manager Evan Bolt estimates replacing the truck would cost between $250,000 and $300,000. A new side-loading truck may be able to service all residential cans in a single day.
With around $140,000 in reserves, the city could place a significant down payment on a new vehicle. However, the council is weighing other options as well.
Options include a franchising agreement with Waste Managment. A bid from Waste Management from August 2020 would increase the cost to residential users by another $10 a month, while possibly decreasing some costs for commercial users.
Bolt notes that a new bid from the waste disposal company would likely be more expensive than the bid from 2020.
The city council, in informal conversation, asked for a cost comparison in anticipation of a future discussion.
Members of the city council also weighed in on a discussion regarding city office hours.
City office hours were shortened from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to a 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule. 
Bolt explained that the accumulation of compensatory (comp) time by administrative staff is the driving factor behind the decision.
While administrative staff at the city does not receive overtime pay, the three-person staff has had high amounts of comp time.
From 2015 to 2018, city staff averaged 186 hours of comp time a year. From 2019 to the present, the average comp time per staff member is down to 77 hours a year.
Bolt explained comp time is not paid at the end of the year, and requires employees to take time off that is not vacation or sick time.
While the reduced hours at the city offices have reduced comp time, the council reports they have heard complaints from the public about accessing city offices.
The council batted around several ideas, including staggering administrative hours among staff. Another idea discussed is to hire a part-time staffer. 
After discussion, council and staff decided to explore providing one day a week with extended hours.
In order to better evaluate the best use of staff time, the city office hours will remain 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the first two weeks of February. 
During the following two weeks, the city offices will open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, with city staff reporting the results to council at a meeting in March.

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