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Hoisington council renews Stutzman trash contract
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HOISINGTON — The City of Hoisington will continue its trash service agreement with Stutzman Refuse Disposal Inc. through a re-negotiated eight-year contract, as approved by the city council.

Monday’s meeting consisted of two action items, with the Stutzman contract considered as new business. The other item, included in the consent agenda, concerned council’s approval of a letter directed to the Hoisington community regarding non-enforcement of a portion of the city’s Uniform Public Offense Code.

Stutzman contract extended

Stutzman’s current agreement, including nine years of trash service to the Hoisington community, expires April 14, 2023. According to a proposal letter to the City Manager’s office dated Feb. 24, however, concerns with recent volatility in the price of diesel fuel prompted SRD to seek an earlier contract date. According to contract, SRD is allowed a 3.96% CPI increase, with no increase due to disposal cost, if the price of diesel rises above $4.221 per gallon. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration had the average price of diesel in the Midwest region pegged at $5 per gallon in its report on Wednesday.

To maintain services and rates, the new eight-year contract would forgo increases in 2022 and 2023. After the agreement’s second year, annual increases would not exceed 4% on the anniversary date of the contract.

Meanwhile, SRD will continue to provide free service to all current city-owned facilities: the public recycle center at Second St. will continue free service as long as there is less than 10% contamination and commercial businesses do not use the facility. SRD will provide compactor truck, driver and personnel to facilitate a citywide curbside cleanup service once per year on a day designated by SRD. 

Additionally, SRD will provide 20 trash carts for the Mud Run; move 8-10 commercial containers to street-side locations for Labor Day and add up to 20 additional carts for the event at no charge.

Current cart rates

Hoisington city residential curbside service and rates are as follows:

• 95 gal. trash cart with 95 gal. recycle, $15.78 per month plus fee.

• 65 gal. trash cart with 65 gal. recycle, $13.79 per month plus fee.

• Second trash (65 or 95) cart, $9.49 per month with fee.

• Second recycle. (95) cart, $3.01 plus fee.

Letter of non-enforcement

As part of its consent agenda, the council passed without discussion approval of a public notice to be issued regarding a portion of the city’s Uniform Public Offense Code that was determined to be unenforceable as the result of a recent court ruling. In his address to the council, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell noted that the public notice, in the form of a letter to the community, was prepared in consultation with the League of Kansas Municipalities and had been reviewed by the city attorney.

The letter states that the City of Hoisington will “take no action to enforce Section 7.5(a)(2) of the Uniform Public Offense Code pending a final adjudication of the matter captioned VoteAmerica V. Schwab.”

The letter also states that in the event the Court permanently enjoins provision within HB2332 that mirrors Sec. 7.5(a)(2) of the UPOC, the city will continue to refrain from enforcement of the section and will evaluate whether legislative action is appropriate to be presented to the governing body of the city for consideration of amendment of the ordinance.

The UPOC section in question deals with distribution of unattributed applications for advance voting ballots, specifically stating that the application for an advance voting ballot mailed to voters by request shall be the official application provided by the secretary of state. No portion of such application shall be completed prior to mailing to the registered voter, the code states.

HB2332 background

The House bill became law on June 1, 2021 after the April 23 veto by Gov. Laura Kelly was overridden by the Legislature in May.

Essentially, the law barred out-of-state entities from mailing advance ballot applications to any voter in the state. The law made it a crime to send mail ballot applications with the voter’s name and address already filled out, as VoteAmerica had done for more than 7,100 requesting voters in Kansas prior to the November 2020 election. Penalties for law violation were set at $20 per infraction (per mailing).

Later that month, Campaign Legal Center filed suit in federal court on behalf of California-based VoteAmerica and the Voter Participation Center. Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe were named as defendants.

A preliminary injunction blocking the law’s enforcement was issued by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil in November.

On Feb. 25 in federal court, a permanent injunction was ordered, in which the state agreed not to object to arguments raised by the nonprofit organizations that maintained the 2021 law violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The state also agreed not to appeal the decision and will pay attorney fees and court costs.