Change in collection of garbage, recycling makes sense

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Changing garbage and recycling pickup from the alleys to the streets in Jamestown improves efficiencies and safety for city workers.

Plans for the change have been developed by the city administrator and sanitation foreman. No date for the transition has been set, and meetings on the topic are planned.

Some residents don't want alley collection to change to the streets and that's understandable. However, the simple truth is that about 80 percent of the alleys in Jamestown are either too narrow, too steep, have tight turns or have some other obstacle to make garbage and recycling pickup safe and efficient.

In connection with the plan to begin residential recycling, the city purchased larger garbage trucks with automated equipment that grabs and empties garbage containers. Those larger trucks have a tough time maneuvering in most alleys because they're not designed for them. But the new trucks and equipment are also saving the city of Jamestown about $200,000 this year.

That savings helps keep sanitation fees down. Saving on costs can translate into having more revenue to reduce property tax rates in town. North Dakota Century Code allows a city to transfer a percentage of its utility revenue to the general fund to supplement and reduce property taxes, the primary source of revenue to the general fund. General fund revenues cover basic city costs such as street maintenance, fire protection and the police department, to name a few.

It's notable that the Jamestown City Council will work to make exceptions for the change to street collection where it makes sense. A high traffic area, for example, might not be the best place to put containers on the street. The City Council is planning meetings to publicize where street collection and where alley collection would be utilized and to hear people's comments. It is an effort to reconcile the need for efficiency and the convenience of residents. If you have concerns, it's a good time to voice them.

While the change may not be what some residents may want, it makes sense in terms of efficiency and safety.