City clarifies rumors about garbage, recycling services

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With rumors circulating around Monticello concerning the future of residential garbage and recycling services and the future of the Public Works Sanitation Department, City Administrator Doug Herman took time during the Feb. 5 council meeting to clarify a few things.

     Herman said he sought input from about 20 different cities with similar population to Monticello and found that very few still offer residential garbage collection.

     “It’s contracted out,” he said.

     However, those cities that contract garbage collection out do offer residents a yard waste site to dispose of tree limbs and yard clippings.

     The City of Monticello has always contracted residential recycling out of town, and Herman said if the council chooses to, residential garbage would be treated the same.

     The city’s contract with Rolling Sanitation LLC was recently terminated as of May 31, 2018, for the sole purpose of investigating the use of recycling carts.

     “We want to improve the quantity of recycling and reduce the amount of garbage,” explained Herman, “because tipping fees keep going up.”

     Council member Tom Yeoman said the carts help to keep the recycling refuse in place.

     “When it’s windy the recycling blows all over the community,” he said. “The carts are a real advantage.”

     Herman the carts that would be provided to residents are sturdy enough to sit on the curbside versus containers that some people use that end up blowing in the streets.

     “I plan to do more research on this,” offered Herman. “But I think we’ll look at considering curbside garbage and recycling at some point.”

     In terms of the discussion about Sanitation Department employees losing jobs, Herman said one of those employees resigned, and the remaining would be absorbed within different Public Works departments.

     “No decision was ever made about cutting jobs,” he said.

     “If anything,” added Council member Johnny Russ, “we’re short an employee.” Public Works Director Brant LaGrange agreed.

In other city business

     • The council approved the use of the Community Building for Starlighters Theatre for acting courses at no charge. The group will be using the facility on Thursday evenings from 6-10 p.m., March 29 through May 3.

     • The council approved the fifth pay request for Schaus-Vorhies for work on the Monticello airport ten-T hangar project. The request was in the amount of $119,003.22.

     Herman said the city will withhold a 5 percent retainage for concrete work that didn’t meet surface standards and needs to be addressed.

     “Not all of the concrete is bad,” said Herman. “Just some areas.”

     • The council approved a two-year airport farm lease agreement between the city and Mike First at $61,750.

     • The council turned down a request from Snyder & Associates for an additional $3,200 related to the airport taxiway grading and paving project that was roughly completed in the fall of 2017. This project was a cost-share project between the city and the DOT, related to the hangar project in place right now.

     Snyder was hired for a flat fee to engineer the project. The project came in under bid, explained Herman, with funds leftover. Snyder reports spending a significant more amount of time on the project, in excess of what was initially agreed on with the city and the DOT.

     “Snyder invested more time than anticipated,” Herman said. “Their books show they put in more time and money than planned.”

     Herman told the council that the DOT does not object to the request from Snyder.

     • The council approved the second and final TIF grant payment to Brian Monk (B&J Hauling and Excavation) in the amount of $15,000 related to the urban renewal project located at 218 W. First St.

     Monk said he has closed on the sale of the two end units inside the building.

     “That (building) has really changed the view entering the city,” commented Council member Dave Goedken. “It really looks nice.”

     • The council set a public hearing for Monday, March 5 at 6 p.m. for the proposed abandonment of the alleyway right of way located between Fourth and Fifth St. to the east of N. Chestnut St.

     • A public hearing is set for March 5 at 6 p.m. on the proposed re-zoning of Accent Construction property between 424 N. Chestnut St. to the north and 402 N. Chestnut St. to the south. The re-zoning is proposed from R-1 Residential to C-1 Commercial.

     • The council approved a resolution concerning the future of the former county shop at the intersection of Fifth St. and Gill St. A new Secondary Road shop was built on the outskirts of Monticello, leaving the future of the old shop in city limits up in the air. Should the county decide to sell the property, the City of Monticello and Monticello Planning & Zoning would like to see the lot zoned residential. Currently it is known as “county use,” with no former zoning declaration.

     • The council voted 4-2, with Council members Gary Pratt an Goedken opposed, to allow the gas station on Main Street (K Food Mart) to keep the two pole signs and to allow a new digital sign to be placed on the pole sign near the right of way. The presence of two pole signs goes against the city’s sign ordinance, unless given special permission by the council.

     Goedken said going against the city’s ordinance like this is a slap in the face to all of the work that was done to put the code in place.

     Yeoman said he didn’t disagree with Goedken, but is “all for keeping a business going so we don’t have empty storefronts in the community.”

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