Lodi town officials are keeping a watch on the town of Lodi Transfer Site after residents have complained it’s closing early and employees are turning people away.
"I'm a little miffed about this, I am the one receiving the complaints and something needs to be done," town chairman Bob Collins said when the issue came up at the Feb. 25 board meeting.
The town of Lodi Transfer/Re-cycling Center site, located at W102223 Larson Drive, is open for winter hours Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.
But Collins said some residents have told him transfer site employees are turning people away 15 minutes prior to closing so they can leave work on time. The employees allegedly tell people the town doesn’t pay them for any extra time.
However, town officials say residents who are through the transfer gate prior to closing time must be helped, and employees will be paid for any extra time.
Collins said residents have also reported the site closed during normal posted business hours.
Town officials said residents should call the town hall to report any problems they have at the transfer site. Starting April 1, the site will again be open additional hours Wednesdays from 3-8 p.m.
The latest issue at the transfer site comes at a time when the town board is trying to standardize operations at the site.
In December, the board voted to stop the "rummage table" practice at the site, saying it was a liability, even though there was public outcry over the action. The board also recently reviewed wages and gave pay increases to transfer site employees.
During discussion at the Feb. 25 meeting, supervisor Karl Hugo, who serves on the personnel committee, suggested asking employees about their duties, in order to standardize work schedules and prevent any future conflicts.
"We really need to look at job descriptions and look at staffing needs," Hugo said.
For 2014 it will cost the town an estimated $77,715 to operate the site.
The Lodi Town Board has entered into a tentative agreement with the city of Lodi to allow it to loop its water main in the town's right-of-way along side Highway 60.
The proposal is part of the city's Lodi Street reconstruction that would add new curb, gutter and pavement.
City officials came to the town board last Tuesday night asking the town's permission to loop 500 feet of its water main in the town's right-of-way. The city said the design would replace two smaller diameter, dead-end water main lines with a continuous, larger diameter one. The city's project engineer Chuck Bongard said the upgrade would establish better service to city residents and would improve fire protection, not only for city residents but also town residents.
The city will pay any costs to repair the town's portion of Lodi Street that is damaged due to the installation.
Town engineer John Litchenheld recommended granting the city approval for the water main project.
However, two residents affected by the project who attended last Tuesday's meeting had some questions; including the amount of time the project would take, and if the project would increase the likelihood that the city will annex the affected town's property.
"This is about enhancing the city's system, not annexation," Bongard said.
Under state law, there are several methods for annexation. One method would require a petition to be signed by the owners of one-half of the land in the area of the proposed annexation, or the owners of one-half of the real property in assessed values within the area.
Collins said he talked with town residents along Lodi Street and said several thought the project offered no benefits to them, and was being done to benefit the nearby Lodi Canning Company, that owns property in the town and city along Highway 60.
Residents also wanted to know if the project would increase their assessed property values.
Bongard said that property owners shouldn’t see an increase in assessed value because they will be hooked up to the city's water main.
One benefit the town could see is the potential to save money on future road maintenance.
The town board asked city officials to get bids on how much it would cost to reconstruct the rest of the town's portion of Lodi Street that won't be affected by the project. Even though town officials said the road is in good shape, and not scheduled for reconstruction for five-six years, it may save the town money to do the project at the same time as the city.
"There's one advantage; economy of scale. At some point, you are going to have to redo the street and, if we do it in conjunction with the city, we could have a lower per-foot cost," Litchenheld told the board.
Once the town board receives bid estimates from the city's contractors, it will make a final decision on reconstruction and adding curb and gutter. Initial estimates for the reconstruction would be $35,000, to add curb and gutter to the reconstruction would be $80,000.
Other board action:
• The Lodi Town Board voted Tuesday to include seven properties in the Okee Sanitary District. The lots located on High Point Road, were only partially included in the district because of a surveying error when the district was set up, according to town clerk April Goeske. The board's action on expanding the district corrects the error.