Berryville council OKs change to wastewater contract

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Berryville City Hall
File photo

The Berryville City Council last Tuesday approved a change in its contract with CH2M HILL Engineers, the company that operates and maintains the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

According to Mayor Tim McKinney, the change is a yearly adjustment based on the previous year’s operational expenses.

“It’s an annual renewal of the contract,” McKinney said. “The terms are good for three years but the price is looked at every year.”

Based on the amendment approved last week, the city will pay CH2M $832,064.47, a total that includes operating costs and repairs. Broken down, that comes to $814,864.47 for operational costs and $17,200 for potential repairs.

The adjustment in costs, McKinney said, is directly related to sludge disposal.

“The primary cost driving this — of course, there are some labor costs and everything — is the price of their sludge disposal,” McKinney said. “It’s going up considerably. I’m on the Carroll County Solid Waste Authority board, and we’ve tried to keep those sludge rates down as low as we can because it affects all three cities, but after we got to looking at it, we’re basically losing money on the sludge and we had to raise our prices on that. That’s the primary factor. I have talked to them extensively and I feel like this is a fair adjustment.”

McKinney said the decision to contract out the plant’s management has been a good one for the city.

“We’re always in compliance now,” he said.

In other business, the board approved the city’s financial reports from February. According to the monthly report, sales tax revenue collected in the city was up nearly $26,000 from February 2020, with $160,277.04 collected from the city’s one percent sales tax. Last year, the city collected $134,566.40 in February.

The city also collected $80,138.52 through its half-cent sales tax for the community center.

In addition, Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos presented his monthly report, noting that the number of tickets written in February was less than half the number reported a year ago, along with a significant reduction in reported offenses.

According to Bartos’ report, Berryville police issued 57 tickets last month, down from 133 a year ago, and dealt with 50 offenses, down from 68 in 2020. The department’s clearance rate remained above 80 percent, checking at 82 percent for February.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 6.

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