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Social Circle agrees to suspension of franchise fee

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Social Circle has agreed that Advanced Disposal can keep its 5 percent franchise fee for a couple of months in order to defray the cost of rising gas prices.

Steve Edwards with Advanced Disposal addressed the City Council on Tuesday and said that his company has seen a 31 percent increase in fuel rates since September 2010.

"I'm here to talk about, for a lack of a better word, relief," Edwards said.

He asked the council to impose a temporary fuel surcharge of 5 percent to begin Nov. 1. He said they could evaluate this rate increase in January.

Social Circle has had a contract with Advanced Disposal since 2003 to collect and dispose of residents' garbage and recycling.

The city's rate is $13.20. A 5 percent surcharge would bring that rate to $13.86.

"We've not asked for a rate increase since 2007, and this would not be a permanent surcharge," Edwards said.

"We would entertain any relief and we are willing to halfway," he said. "I don't want to disrupt your budget, but fuel prices have beaten us, so we just decided to come ask."

According to information Edwards provided the City Council, diesel prices have climbed from approximately $2.90 per gallon in September 2010 to about $3.80 per gallon in September 2011.

City Manager Doug White said that Advanced Disposal began reimbursing Social Circle a 5 percent franchise fee last year, revenue that was not accounted for in the city's budget.

"I would suggest we suspend the franchise fee a few months rather than impose a rate increase," White told the council. "That amount may be more than what they have asked for and it will offer them the relief they need. That was revenue we had not anticipated in the budget, so suspending the franchise fee won't impact us."

The council voted unanimously to suspend the franchise fee for November and December, and to revisit the issue at the first of the year.

In other news, the City Council approved four outstanding budgets for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

City Clerk Susan Roper said she failed to present the budgets for Stanton Library Investment fund, the special purpose local option sales tax, the Hotel/Motel tax and the Police Confiscation Fund.