County questions interlocal agreement

 


Kimball County Commissioners questioned the $2 fee charged to county residents on their utility bills under the itemization of landfill fees and further considered the an interlocal agreement made with the City of Kimball concerning the landfill and disposal services.

During the most recent board meeting Mayor Keith Prunty and City Council members Christy Warner and James Schnell were joined by Larissa Binod, Director of Keep Kimball Beautiful and Spud Rowley from the Kimball Recycle Center.

“In researching, the question and concern was, when the contract was started in 2014 there was a presentation and discussion with how the city may be using these funds,” County Clerk Cathy Sibal said, “and it did say within the presentation that there would be perhaps two dollars that would be allocated to the recycling center. That’s the understanding, through the clerk’s perspective from the minutes at that time – that fees were increased to support the recycling center.”

Attorney, James Ellison of Kovarik, Ellison & Mathis Law Firm, who represented the county board at the meeting, gave the board an explanation of the contract between the two entities.

“Very generally, the contracts terminology takes you through the year 2020,” Ellsion said, “there is no reference or line item that relates to the two dollar issue that you’ve been talking about. So, it seems to be within the discretion of the City of Kimball with regard to that issue. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get into a discussion and renegotiate that contract, but it appears the way that the contract is written right now – you probably can’t make changes until both sides agree. That’s where you are right now.”

For several months representatives of the City of Kimball, the Kimball Board of Public Works and Keep Kimball Beautiful negotiated a mutually beneficial, working contract amid private discussions. Though negotiations were effectively ended at the Nov. 3 City Council meeting with a vote by council to uphold the agreement as written without further considerations.


“To clarify, from my standpoint,” stated Commissioner Tim Nolting, “I was in the discussion in 2013 and it was presented – from my recollection – that the city requested a two dollar additional fee to be applied to the landfill fee and that two dollars was to be used for the recycling center.

“When I discovered that there was a possibility that the two dollars per month from each county resident was going to be reduced, or the potential of being reduced – I raised the question that it was designated for the recycle center – then it can’t just be reallocated somewhere else, can it?”

Rowley too questioned the City’s ability to hold or “freeze” funds from county residents with no prior agreement to support the action.

“It’s been back and forth. So, in 2013, the Board of Public Works actually put on for the two dollar fee, which is county wide, to be a line item on the city bill. And for whatever reason, that fee was never put on there,” Rowley said. “That’s more city, but this actually involves the county and their fees, because that fee, is all taxpayer money. It was a fee for Keep Kimball Beautiful, but since the end of August we have not received any money. They actually ‘froze’, as Ortiz called it; our funds for Keep Kimball Beautiful.”

Commissioner Daria Faden asked if there was a way to fix this ongoing issue, to which Warner said that Keep Kimball Beautiful had been given an additional 30 days and that as far as Council is concerned, the agreement as presented is final.

“As far as we are concerned the agreement has been approved and if they (KKB) want to sign it, then we’re good to go,” Warner said.

Schnell added that the organization had received a packet outlining the steps that needed to be taken as well as the process expected.

The board of Keep Kimball Beautiful has made multiple requests for a public meeting, according to Binod, and each has been denied.

“We need a mediator to cleanly bring the two boards together,” Binod said. “There’s been no communication since the last city council meeting. We were waiting to see the minutes and compare them to the actual recording. Keep Kimball Beautiful is still awaiting permission to have a public meeting with all of the entities and all of the people that are involved with it.”

Binod sought information from the County Clerk’s records regarding the original agreement, to which Sibal offered copies of those documents for review.

“I think the county as a whole wants to see Keep Kimball Beautiful continuing,” offered Commissioner Nolting, “thank you for attending,” he addressed the public.

 

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