Government

Mayor's Message

 
LION’S ROAR – FEBRUARY-MARCH, 2018

By:  Mayor Chris Riley

”If you can’t fly, then run; If you can’t run, then walk; If you can’t walk, then crawl.  But whatever you do, Keep Moving Forward” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NEW GARBAGE/RECYCLING  CONTRACT

         I reported in the last Lion’s Roar that the City Manager was going to present the options on Waste Management’s expiring contract to Council in December.   At the December 5, 2017, City Council meeting, Council opted to follow staff’s recommendation to award the new contract to Tiger Sanitation, beginning January 1, 2018.  Tiger has now delivered large recycling and garbage containers (2 per household). The pickup of garbage/recycling will be on the same day Waste Management (WM) picked up both recycling and garbage last year. For example in Forest Oaks we had Wednesday pickup for both services and that will also be the day for Tiger’s once a week pickup. Tiger’s bid for one- recycling/ one- garbage pickup per week was lower than WM’s.  Tiger’s low bid is $17.00 plus tax for a 95 gallon container, or $16.75 plus tax if you prefer a 65 gallon container for garbage. You have until March 31, 2018, to opt in for this sized container.

          Folks who were not able to attend the applicable city council meetings or two Saturday workshops on this issue may not have known that WM’s contract expired on December 31, 2017.  The city went out for bids in September. 

          For WM to continue the two-garbage, one-recycling service, this would have cost the homeowner $20.37 plus tax which is up from WM’s former rate of $15.76  per month (with no containers). The garbage contract and citizen preferences were discussed at the April workshop and the majority preferred one-recycling/one-garbage pickup.   This service mirrors the service in the Leon Valley Ridge subdivision (which has had one-garbage and one-recycling pickup in place since 2014, with Leon Valley receiving no complaints), as well as the City of San Antonio and other municipalities in the metroplex.  The service will be kept at $17.00 plus tax per month for two years, then increased annually by the Consumer Price Index.  You will no longer have to pay a monthly charge for your containers. 

          Tiger was chosen over WM because their bid was lower for not only residential but also commercial service. A resident can also leave out 4 additional bags of trash either in bags or old containers. Tiger manager Lee Kuhn texted:  “If a resident chooses to place a bag or personal container at the street without a cart, we will still pick it up. However, the use of the carts help to minimize inadvertent litter from bags being damaged by animals or weather.” Tiger has also purchased new, more efficient garbage trucks and scored the highest in an industry rating for safety.   The twice a year bulky pick-ups in the Spring and Fall will continue with Tiger. Dumpster Bags (for large volumes of waste) is a separate service offered by Tiger and is still available for a separate charge.

        Unfortunately, WM did not communicate the change in providers to their billing department and sent their 1st quarter bills out before Christmas. Many residents assumed from the bill that WM was willing to continue at the same rate; but the bill received did not show WM’s increase in March ($17.81), after a two month transition period at $15.76.  WM will refund any 1st quarter payments.  Tiger delayed its billing for 1st quarter 2018 until the end of January so citizens could receive their refund back from the former company.  If you have a problem with your refund, call Waste Management at 1-800-800-5804.  Any  LV citizen may contact Tiger’s local customer service team at (210) 333-4287 with questions or concerns or email the team at LeonValley@Tiger-TX.com.

      Change is difficult, especially with garbage service.  This decision was made by council and staff in light of all the evidence in the best interest of our citizens.   Let’s give Tiger a chance to deliver great customer service. They want to be part of our community by supporting our community-wide events, including donating  community service hours to help beautify and clean up our city. 

HUEBNER-ONION HOMESTEAD AND STAGECOACH STOP

          Another topic of past Town Hall Meetings and Coffees has been the city’s long standing relationship with the Leon Valley Historical Society with respect to the  historic Huebner-Onion Homestead across from city hall. In 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was established between the City Council and LVHS in order to move this 17 year old restoration project.  The Homestead is on the National Register of Historic Places and is protected by the Texas Historical Commission.

          The idea of the MOU is for the City and the LVHS to work together to realize the vision of the Master Plan, a detailed architectural rendering of the restoration project. The LVHS will use its 501(c)(3) status to raise the estimated $3 million to complete the project; the City will assist in making part of the adjacent Bandera Road frontage available for a pavilion, restrooms, and pervious-cover parking.

          A capital campaign is needed to make a Heritage Center out of this important community asset.  The LVHS (the owner of the .58 acre Homestead tract) is seeking a grant or loan from the city (the owner of the adjacent Natural Area) to pay the estimated $32,000 for a professional fundraising group to conduct a four month feasibility study to identify potential donors for the project.  The study would be used by the LVHS as a roadmap for the capital campaign.  Thereafter, the consultants would charge an estimated $70,000 over a six month period to assist the LVHS to complete the capital campaign.

          City Council and the LVHS board of directors met in two public workshops in November and January to discuss whether and how the City could use some of its Economic/Community Development (ED/CD) sales tax funds to assist the LVHS in paying the upfront costs of the capital campaign.  The 1/8 cent ED/CD sales tax generates an average of $20,000 a month and one of its designated purposes is historic preservation/restoration. Additional research, including whether the LVHS would qualify for a CDBG grant from the federal government, and further public dialogue will follow on how to move this project forward. Renovating the Homestead and fulfilling the Master Plan will enable our community to finally realize the potential of the 1862 Stagecoach Stop as an educational Heritage Center and an important attraction to the city, along with the Huebner-Onion Natural Area.  I hope to see you at the Homestead Under the Stars on April 21, 2018, and the Tricentennial Celebration on May 26, 2018, both at the grounds of the Homestead.

          It is an honor and privilege to serve as your Mayor.  The council and I are all volunteers.  Please do not hesitate to call or email: (210) 618-2092 or mayorriley@leonvalleytexas.gov.

 Sincerely, Chris

Cell: (210) 618-2092