Cost is the top issue at recycling measure talkCity Council Chambers overflowed Monday with members of the public showing support for a curbside-pickup recycling proposal. And although they spoke in support of it, some took issue with parts of the proposal, including its cost.
City Council Chambers overflowed Monday with members of the public showing support for a curbside-pickup recycling proposal. And although they spoke in support of it, some took issue with parts of the proposal, including its cost.
Ralph Friebel of Renaissance Recycling had proposed his business would pick up bins of unsorted recyclable materials from the curbs of each residence in Jamestown. Each household would pay a $4.80 monthly fee.
That cost is almost a 50 percent hike to current utility bills, Mayor Katie Andersen had said at a previous meeting. Andersen supports curbside recycling, although she said the city must remain conscious of the people who pay the utility fees. Currently, Jamestown residents pay about $10 per month for garbage pickup.
If they chose to recycle, residents haul their items to the recycling center and sort them themselves. The process is time-consuming and inconvenient, Friebel had said. A curbside pickup program increases recycled materials and reduces waste taken to the landfill.
At Monday’s meeting, Bob Moran was one of a few who said he already hauls his materials to the recycling center, and he didn’t mind doing it.
“I’m definitely in favor of recycling, I’m just not in favor of paying for it,” he said.
Under the current proposal, the city would require 100 percent participation. If participation was voluntary, user fees would increase, Andersen said.
Jamestown resident Bob Martin said he’s in favor of recycling, but not in favor of the curbside portion of it. Many garbage bins are collected from alleys, he said. Curbside collection is a beautification issue as well as an inconvenience to residents, especially during snowy months.
“Garbage cans sit out seven days a week,” Martin said, saying he guessed that practice would continue with recycling bins if the city adopted curbside recycling.
Councilman Pat Nygaard agreed. He said curbside pickup is unappealing. He also questioned if the city should consider redrawing its garbage pickup routes.
City engineer Reed Schwartzkopf suggested the city consider updating its waste management program altogether. The council had mentioned implementing a pay-as-you-throw garbage collection program. A pay-as-you-throw system charges users based on how much they throw away. Recycling, however, is free. The program gives residents and incentive to recycle because they won’t have to pay as much to do so.
“I believe this needs to be a more comprehensive review on the entire waste treatment program,” he said.
Andersen said the city can consider implementing a pay-as-you-throw system. It would not need to solicit bids to do so if the city still handled garbage pickup.
If the city had to request bids again, it may delay the process. City Attorney Ken Dalsted said he was unsure if the city would have to request bids again if it made modifications to the original proposal.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org