City Council adds to recycling planCity Hall staff will be working on the “pay as you throw” portion of curbside recycling as part of its development of a program for the community.
City Hall staff will be working on the “pay as you throw” portion of curbside recycling as part of its development of a program for the community.
The City Council Monday added pay-as-you-throw despite concerns by City Administrator Jeff Fuchs that city staff would be hard-pressed to get a city-wide program developed by Jan. 1. In committee, council members shelved the pay-as-you-throw portion, figuring to add it after staff turned in the initial plan Jan 1.
“Jan. 1 is a tough date but we’ll get it done,” Fuchs said. “This means a whole new rate structure for our sanitation department. We have to make sure the revenues cover the costs.”
Councilman Pat Nygaard said it would not be possible to have a meaningful program without pay-as-you-throw.
“Now it’s just a mandatory fee,” he said. “We need a volume-based rate as an offset for the elderly and empty nesters with less trash.”
Simply put, pay-as-you-throw rewards recycling. As an example, everyone would pay the fee, say $3, but the recycler would have a smaller city garbage container, which would cost less to rent. That would lower his monthly garbage bill. The idea of pay-as-you-throw is comparable to an electricity bill, proponents say. The more garbage a resident has collected, the more it would cost.
Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Recycling Task Force member Joan Morris said Agri-Cover, where she is controller “is interested in going green.” The plant has introduced a number of “green” improvements, she said, and has an engineer with a green background.
“We’re offering our engineer and me in the financial process if you include pay-as-you-throw in the planning,” Morris said.
The council also changed the tentative date of implementation of curbside recycling — from April 1 to May 1. Nygaard said the weather conditions are iffy in early April. Plus, he said, very often alley pick up of garbage is suspended at that time because alleys are too soft.
“I prefer ‘as the conditions allow,’” he said of a start date.
Mayor Katie Andersen and Councilman Ken Schulz both said they wanted public input before the program was implemented.
“Anytime we as a council make a decision about fees, I would like to hear from the public,” Schulz said. “We have a lot of material from the task force, but we need input pro and con from the public. We can make a decision on implementing it after that.”
He suggested October or November for a public hearing. While agreeing on the need for a hearing, Andersen said she thought it should take place after Jan. 1.
“I would like to have information from the public after we have an implementation plan,” she said.
The council voted unanimously in support of the May 1 implementation date, a public input meeting and adding pay-as-you-throw to the planning process.
The mayor pulled the resolution accepting the report by the Local Government Advisory Study Committee and thanking its members off the consent agenda. The report recommended the City Council go forward on strategic planning.
“I think we need to take a firmer position on the strategic planning process,” Andersen said.
She advocated six additional meetings from January to June for the council “to put together the strategic plan.”
Schulz asked if Andersen was suggesting the City Council conduct the process of strategic planning for the city. Andersen said yes. He agreed the aim should be getting the job done.
The council unanimously supported adding the meetings.
In other business, the council:
* approved the 2011 budgets and levies. The general fund budget is $6,036,800 and the levy is about 105 mills.
* tabled a Brown Bear Properties request for a property tax exemption on a 35-unit assisted living facility, pending verification of timing on the license application.
* accepted two bids totaling about $150,800 to renovate the Civic Center restrooms.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org